A 50-year-old Missoula woman was charged Monday with felony theft by embezzlement for allegedly stealing nearly $240,000 from a Montana-based architectural firm over eight years.
Linda Faye Harris began working for CTA Architects of Missoula in 2001 as an administrative assistant and bookkeeper. She resigned in June 2009, after CTA’s accounting department found that Harris had used a company credit card to purchase gas on a weekend. Harris could not explain the purchase.
Upon closer inspection, employees found what appeared to be forged signatures on business checks for the purchase of other personal items, as well as “questionable” credit card charges and expense reimbursements.
Management met with Harris in June to discuss the irregularities, and she admitted stealing between $10,000 and $15,000. She offered to resign, saying she’d made “a very bad mistake,” according to court records filed in Missoula County Justice Court.
The Montana-based company then hired an external accounting firm to audit their records, and the private firm found $237,842 in “questionable expenses” – purchases made between December 2001 and June 2009, according to court records.