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Two weeks after Mossyrock’s city clerk was arrested and charged with first-degree theft for allegedly stealing funds from the city, the Lewis County prosecutors filed 18 new charges of theft and identity theft, alleging transfers from city accounts totaling nearly $33,000 over the past nine months.
On June 27, Doneia A. Santiago, 53, of Salkum, made her first appearance in Lewis County Superior Court and was charged with one count of first-degree theft based on accusations that she stole more than $7,7000 from the city of Mossyrock through transactions on gas cards and a single transfer to a mortgage company. She was granted $10,000 unsecured bail.
Santiago was the city’s clerk and treasurer, as well as its Parks Department manager, according to the city’s website.
On June 27, however, Chief Roger Morningstar of the Morton Police Department learned of another alleged theft, a June 20 “automated clearing house” payroll transaction going to Santiago in the amount of $4,833.55, despite the fact that payroll was 10 days away, according to court documents.
Morningstar learned from Mossyrock Mayor Thomas Meade that the payment was not authorized.
Recently, the city of Mossyrock transferred its accounts from KeyBank to Security State Bank. On June 28, Morningstar reportedly went to KeyBank and suggested Meade look into the possibility of additional unauthorized account activity.
They found in KeyBank’s transaction history a number of transactions made from the city accounts to Central Mortgage, according to court documents.
The first charge against Santiago accused her of paying $3,657.24 to Central Mortgage in May from a city of Mossyrock account. Santiago reportedly told investigators the transfer was mistakenly made using a city of Mossyrock credit card, and that she intended to pay it back but didn’t have the money. However, the investigation found that the transaction took place using an account number, rather than a credit card, according to court documents.
The information found on June 28 show transactions from the city’s old KeyBank account to Central Mortgage on several dates including: $4,687.23 on April 21, $3,267.73 on March 11, $3,797.63 in February, $2,881.94 in January, $4,367.89 in December, 2015, $3,227.68 in November, 2015 and $2,247.71 in October, 2015, according to court documents. Including the May and June transactions, the fraudulent transfers to Santiago or the mortgage company from city accounts total nearly $33,000.
As with the May, 2016 mortgage payment, these payments were made by a person manually entering account numbers into a payment system, according to court documents.
On July 7, the Lewis County Prosecutor’s office attempted to file additional charges, but the court did not accept the amended information.
However, the Prosecutor’s Office successfully filed amended charging documents the next day, charging Santiago with nine counts of second-degree theft and nine counts of first-degree identity theft.
Santiago’s next court hearing is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 4.