Ex-Bend painting co. bookkeeper accused of embezzlement

Police: Over $189,000 missing from Bend Painting

BEND, Ore. - (Update: Initial court appearance, released on reduced bail)

A Bend painting company's former bookkeeper was arrested Thursday night, accused of stealing nearly $200,000 from the company over the past four years, police said Friday.

Bend police responded on Dec. 8 to a report of a theft from Bend Painting, located on Boyd Acres Road, Lt. Clint Burleigh said.

The officer learned from company managers that they suspected a former employee, Gretchen Marie Miller, 33, of Bend, of taking several thousands of dollars from the company over a four-year period.

Burleigh said the company had hired a new office manager, who was tasked to look for discrepancies in their financial records over the time Miller was employed there.

The investigation revealed that more than $189,000 was missing from the company, taken in various ways, Burleigh said.

Miller is suspected of hiding multiple transfers to her personal and credit card accounts during her work at Bend Painting, according to Burleigh.

Police officers and detectives executed a search warrant Thursday at Miller's home in southeast Bend.

Miller was taken to the Deschutes County Jail and booked on 10 counts of aggravated theft. She remained held Friday on $150,000 bail. 

The district attorney's initial charging document, called an information, listed just one count of aggravated theft, conducted between Jan. 1, 2012 and Oct. 15 of this year. The attached information said Miller also went by the name Gretchen Marie Lupton.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Mary Anderson said Circuit Judge Michael Adler reduced Miller’s bail to $25,000 at her initial court appearance Friday on the DA’s initial charge of one count of aggravated theft. She is scheduled for arraignment on a formal indictment Jan. 18, after the case is presented to a grand jury.

A jail officer said Miller posted bail and was released later Friday afternoon.

Anderson said Adler set release conditions that Miller cannot leave the state, must surrender her passport to her attorney, cannot transfer any assets and is limited on expenditures.

The investigation is continuing, Burleigh said, and more charges could be added.

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