Theft from Woodhaven Lakes in Sublette reportedly rises to $333,000

SUBLETTE – The theft from Woodhaven Lakes, initially thought to be around $50,000, now is pegged at $333,046.

That according to an internal investigation done by the private campground’s finance department staff, and reported at its board meeting Saturday.

A forensic audit has yet to be finished, Lee County State’s Attorney Charley Boonstra said Monday morning. Because of that, he could not confirm the accuracy of the new tab.

Boonstra said he also is awaiting the results of the forensic audit before determining if more or different charges will be filed against Donna Unrath, 54, the association’s former accounting administrator, who was charged April 29 with theft of more than $10,000 but less than $100,000.

That charge carries a possible 3 to 7 years in prison, plus restitution.

What is needed for a claim to be filed with an insurance company, and for charges to be filed in court, likely are two different things.

The standard Boonstra must meet to obtain a conviction requires him to be able to prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt the theft of an amount of money specified in a charge or charges.

In the meantime, Unrath, of Amboy, is free on her own recognizance. She has a pretrial hearing Aug. 25 in Lee County Court, and is represented by Dixon attorney Paul Whitcombe.

She so far is accused of stealing over the course of about 7 years, from April 2015 to November.

At Saturday’s Board of Directors meeting, Jeff Hickey, executive director of the campground at 509 La Moille Road since 2019, and general manager nearly 30 years before that, read Woodhaven’s official statement on the theft at the meeting.

According to excerpts from the statement, Woodhaven staff identified “inconsistencies with accounting procedures” before Unrath resigned in October, more inconsistencies immediately after her resignation, “inconsistencies with financial records and theft of funds” within months of her resignation, and still more “while preparing Woodhaven’s year-end financial statements for audit.”

The inconsistencies “likely suggested theft of Woodhaven funds over the course of the past few years,” Hickey read.

“The total amount identified through our internal investigation is $333,046.”

A claim with the association’s insurance company is being processed, and “at this time we expect appropriate restitution be provided by the insurance company.”

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Kathleen Schultz

Kathleen A. Schultz

Kathleen Schultz is a Sterling native with 40 years of reporting and editing experience in Arizona, California, Montana and Illinois.