Kennewick woman pleads innocent to Bergstrom embezzlement

A former bookkeeper for Bergstrom Aircraft pleaded innocent Tuesday to allegations she embezzled at least $48,000 from the Pasco company.

Barbara E. Traeger, 62, faces a Feb. 18 trial in Franklin County Superior Court on one count of first-degree theft.

The Kennewick woman had been in charge of payroll for Bergstrom Aircraft. She no longer works for the company.

Pasco officers were called last week after discrepancies were found in accounting records. Traeger was an hourly employee earning a little more than $3,000 a month, but she allegedly made direct deposits into her bank account for much more than she was to be paid.

The extra money was added to her monthly salary except on four occasions when she sent additional deposits to herself, court documents said.

Police were given paperwork showing "Traeger had added thousands of dollars to her direct deposit, which was not reported to Malin Bergstrom, who is one of the owners," Officer Brad Gregory wrote in his probable cause affidavit.

Since November 2007, Traeger allegedly added $48,118.19 to her direct deposits. Numbers are still being crunched since July 2003, but the amount of money stolen could exceed $100,000, said Pasco Capt. Jim Raymond.

The charge against Traeger includes aggravating factors that the monetary loss was greater than is typical for the offense, involved multiple incidents and that she used her position of trust to facilitate the crime.