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Originally published Friday, February 15, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Ex-Eastside Catholic High official charged in fraud

The former financial controller of Eastside Catholic High School was charged Thursday with stealing more than $160,000 from the school over...

Seattle Times Eastside bureau

The former financial controller of Eastside Catholic High School was charged Thursday with stealing more than $160,000 from the school over a 2 ½-year period.

Lana Gaye Smith, 46, of Renton, who also goes by Lana Gaye Lewis, is to be arraigned Feb. 25. If convicted, she would face nearly five years in prison.

The thefts were discovered during an audit of school finances, when three suspicious payments to a person named Lewis were identified.

Further review also found unauthorized payments to a person named Smith, according to court papers. Police said the thefts occurred between Aug. 24, 2004, and March 26, 2007.

An investigation by two members of the school's finance committee found 34 unauthorized checks written to Lana Lewis or Lana Smith for the $163,608 total, court papers said.

The checks were routinely recorded as if they'd gone to other parties. In one example, a check was recorded as made out to Auction Services, a legitimate vendor, but was really made out to Smith. Auction Services said it never received any such payment.

"This fraud was able to occur due to the fact that there was no segregation of duties over cash, and the bank reconciliations were prepared by Smith and not reviewed ... ," Bellevue police Officer Travess Forbush said. "Smith was able to write checks to herself and sign them with the signature stamp she had access to. She removed canceled checks from the bank statements when they were received at the school."

Smith has no known criminal history.

Peyton Whitely: 206-464-2259 or pwhitely@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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