The shop manager for a West Richland business has pleaded innocent to allegations she used a company credit card to pay for her Netflix service, a storage rental unit and other personal bills.
Christy M. Wheeler, 46, faces an Aug. 21 trial date in Benton County Superior Court on one count of first-degree theft.
While working for Liberty Lawn and Saw Shop, she allegedly made more than $6,000 in unauthorized purchases over a 5 1/2 -month period.
Owner Ryan Lee Hone told police that Wheeler had been given a credit card for business purposes only, court documents said. He instructed her that it was not for personal use.
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The card was in Wheeler’s name because the bank reportedly required that it include a name other than the business at 6105 W. Van Giesen St.
Hone became aware on Feb. 10 that Wheeler had ignored his orders when the bank called his office because the monthly payment had not been received, documents said. He then reviewed the card statements back to Oct. 1 and found questionable charges for groceries, gas, home and office supplies, and phone, cable and city utility services, according to court documents.
The owner confronted Wheeler, who admitted the personal charges and promised to pay the money back, court documents said.
However, Hone immediately paid off the credit card in full since the bank told him he was responsible for the charges, documents said.
When questioned by investigators, Wheeler denied accumulating a balance as high as $6,000, court documents said. She acknowledged keeping the credit card statements, saying it was a “huge mistake,” documents said.
Wheeler also allegedly told another Liberty employee in text messages: “NO EXCUSES I take full responsibility.”
Wheeler is out of custody on her personal recognizance.