Chamber bookkeeper accused of cashing dead woman's check

Staffer Dawn Wolf charged with embezzling $8,000

Posted: Thursday, February 20, 2003

An Alaska State Chamber of Commerce bookkeeper faces felony charges after officials uncovered an alleged embezzlement scam that included cashing a dead woman's check and pocketing the money.

The check was written to Karen Brand, 33, the woman who fatally shot retired Alaska Public Safety Commissioner Glenn Godfrey, critically wounded his wife and then killed herself last August. Godfrey and Brand had had an affair.

Dawn E. Wolf, 34, was arraigned Wednesday in Juneau Superior Court on felony charges of second-degree theft and falsifying business records. The charges, included in a grand jury indictment, stem from alleged incidents occurring between November 2001 and Jan. 31, when Wolf worked as a bookkeeper for the Juneau office of the state chamber, an organization of private business owners that promotes growth and development in Alaska.

The Dawn Wolf charged in this case is not Dawn A. Wolfe, accountant for Gastineau Guiding.

Through defense attorney David George, Wolf pleaded innocent Wednesday. George said his office is investigating the case and declined further comment.

District Attorney Rick Svobodny said chamber officials discovered the organization's books weren't balancing late last year and conducted an audit.

Officials were tipped to the alleged scam when they came across a $122 check cashed by Brand, who was chamber vice president. Svobodny said the check was cashed after Brand's death.

"They knew then something not good was going on," said Svobodny.

Auditors allegedly also found Wolf had been writing checks to herself from the chamber account, Svobodny said. The state alleges Wolf's scam spanned two years and totaled about $8,000.

Pamela LaBolle, state chamber president, declined to comment on the facts of the case or whether Wolf still was employed with the organization.

If convicted, Wolf could be sentenced to up to five years in prison for each of the charges. According to court records, she has no prior convictions and is free on her own recognizance.

Melanie Plenda can be reached

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