Ex-employee of state chamber admits theft

Former bookkeeper pleads guilty to felony theft of almost $25,000

Posted: Friday, May 16, 2003

The former bookkeeper for the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce pleaded guilty Thursday to stealing nearly $25,000 from the chamber's coffers more than 15 months ago.

Dawn E. Wolf, 34, pleaded guilty to a felony count of second-degree theft at a change-of-plea hearing in Juneau Superior Court.

The charge stems from incidents between November 2001 and Jan. 31, 2003, when Wolf worked as a bookkeeper for the Juneau office of the state chamber.

The chamber is an organization of private business owners that promotes growth and development in Alaska. It is separate from the Juneau Chamber of Commerce.

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

A felony charge of falsifying business records was dismissed as part of the plea agreement between defense attorney David George and Assistant District Attorney Doug Gardner.

Gardner told the court Wolf's responsibilities included collecting dues from businesses and entering payments received into computerized records.

He said Wolf would enter an incoming check into what appeared to be a chamber account but was really a bank account in her name.

Gardner said police and auditors also found Wolf signed and cashed incoming checks written to other people. The checks she cashed included one 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.

Wolf was caught when last year's books did not balance and auditors found the check to Brand was cashed several days after her death, according to court records. Gardner said Wolf stole more than $24,395 from the chamber.

Wolf may serve 18 months in a halfway house with 14 months suspended if Superior Court Judge Larry Weeks accepts the sentence recommendation included in the plea agreement. She also may be sentenced to three years of probation and restitution. Wolf, who is out on bail, is slated to be sentenced in early October.

If the agreement is accepted, George said his client is going to request early termination of Wolf's probation once restitution is paid in full.

• Melanie Plenda can be reached atmplenda@juneauempire.com.

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