The former general manager of a Kennewick hotel is accused of pocketing $57,000 in cash over six months.
When Janet L. St. George learned that the owner of the Quality Inn planned an audit to figure out what happened to the missing money, she left her keys at the lobby desk and never returned to work, according to court documents.
St. George, 53, has pleaded innocent in Benton County Superior Court to first-degree theft. The charge includes the aggravating circumstances that she used a position of trust and it was a major economic offense.
Her trial is scheduled June 27.
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Court documents show that St. George worked at the Quality Inn at 7901 W. Quinault Ave. from Jan. 1, 2015, to July 24.
Kennewick police were called in October after a review of bank statements confirmed employee observations that cash deposits had not been matching up with the money taken in, documents said.
The new general manager told Detective Rick Runge that there is $300 in the register at the beginning of each shift. Then, at the end of each shift, the clerk counts the remaining cash and checks, and drops it into the office safe with the shift report.
Only the general manager and the owner, who lives out of the area, have access to the safe.
St. George told a detective she was unable to pay her bills, so she first started “borrowing money” from the hotel deposits and would pay it back after getting funds from a relative, according to court documents.
The manager was responsible for filling in a deposit slip and depositing the funds, court documents said.
The new manager reported that after reconciling the bank account deposits with accounting computer software, she found $57,002 was missing from the first half of the year, documents said.
St. George allegedly had been told on July 24 of the owner’s plans to conduct an audit, and that’s when she walked away from her job.
During the police investigation, St. George voluntarily agreed to meet with Runge and told the detective she had relapsed on pain medication after surgery in 2014, documents said.
St. George said she was unable to pay her bills, so she first started “borrowing money” from the hotel deposits and would pay it back after getting funds from a relative, documents said.
She eventually lost track of the money she had taken and guessed it was between $12,000 and $20,000, documents said.
St. George also said that when she met with the owner last July, she admitted she had relapsed and allegedly said she took the cash to support her habit.
She is out of custody on her own recognizance after contacting prosecutors once she learned the charge had been filed and appearing in court as ordered.