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BOULDER, Colo. -

A 29-year-old former bookkeeper for a small Boulder laser optics business forged company checks and charged company credit cards in a $230,000 pilfering scheme -- money she spent on a luxury cruise, a flat-screen TV, and a $56,000 Mercedes Benz, according to a court document released Thursday.

Amber Marie Turner, who worked for Precision Photonics until May 2008, is set to be formally charged Friday with three felony counts -- theft over $20,000, unauthorized use of a financial transaction device over $20,000 and identity theft.

Officials with Precision Photonics, which was founded nine years ago by scientists from the National Institutes of Standards and Technology, told police that Turner's alleged embezzlement forced the company to lay off employees.

CEO Chris Myatt, reached at his office Thursday, declined to reveal how many employees were let go and said he didn't want to comment about the case.

Turner was arrested last week and released on $10,000 bond.

"These allegations are very serious and if the alleged conduct is established in court, it will show that it was very devastating to this very small business in Boulder County," Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett said.

Garnett, who took office in January, has established an Economic and Business Crimes Unit and made the prosecution of white-collar crime a focus.

According to an arrest affidavit, Myatt and Precision Photonics co-owner Sarah Hatcher told police that Turner added her name to the company's MasterCard account and made 79 unauthorized ATM cash advance withdrawals to the tune of $40,000 in a 3-month span in late 2007 and early 2008.


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She also opened a company American Express account in her name, they alleged, making more than $140,000 in unauthorized purchases between July 2007 and April 2008, including the $56,400 Mercedes Benz from a Westminster Mercedes Benz dealership.

Other illicit purchases included a $1,427 shopping spree at Nordstrom, a $2,000 queen mattress, airline tickets, a $4,264 Royal Caribbean cruise and $4,260 spent at Vail Resorts, the document states.

Turner would download monthly credit card statements and remove her purchases, Hatcher and Myatt told police, and then use her access to the company's checking account to pay off the credit card purchases.

In all, she made $53,000 worth of unauthorized transactions at 119 merchants, police said.

The arrest document also details two alleged check forgeries by Turner, in which she paid herself nearly $7,700 by forging Hatcher's signature on the checks.

Myatt told police he only noticed the embezzled funds after firing the company's financial controller last year and going through Precision Photonics' financial records.

Garnett said the alleged actions Turner engaged in is "surprisingly common" in Boulder County, particularly at smaller companies where employees are entrusted with company funds and protocols for handling money and accounting for expenditures may not be in place.

"If we can prosecute these kinds of cases, we can protect just the kinds of businesses we want in Boulder County," he said.

Archived comments

I think everyone needs to read this story carefully. These are ALLIGATIONS! What happened to innocent until proven guilty? Or has the Daily Camera taken over as Judge, Jury and Executioner? It never fails to amaze me how readers will jump to conclusions without bothering to even investigate the situation in its entirety. I'm pretty sure most people would refer to that as ignorance. Good job everybody, this comment board has shown an impressive display of utter mindlessness; and with the help of the Daily Camera, we'll probably never get an accurate depiction of this story.

And by the way Joker49, the bond was posted by a close friend of hers who happens to also be a member of my family.

skydog66

5/1/2009 11:43:56 AM

Here is a message to any business owner that allows a woman to have access to bank accounts. Woman steal money. They do it all the time and the courts let them off with probation and restitution. Take my advise, if a woman has access to your money, audit your books. This goes for your wives too. I have been robbed blind by the most endearing women. Both at home and at work. We have read this story before, just with different victims and perps.

username

4/30/2009 8:17:03 PM

Miss Amber is now dancing at a gentleman's club on S. Federal.

Animalman

5/1/2009 6:52:26 PM

Allegedly dancing.......

joker49

5/1/2009 7:27:10 PM

I think this may be the same Amber Turner that was dating/living with Rae Carruth from The Carolina Panthers.

username

4/30/2009 8:26:18 PM

This girl has a history!!!!!! Google her name.

username

4/30/2009 8:35:32 PM

Girlfriend is a LOSER

BoulderConfidential

4/30/2009 10:30:40 PM

Skydog, Are they a bookeeper too?

joker49

5/1/2009 2:20:01 PM

I think she's cute.

But then again, she didn't steal 230K from me.

Yet.

orbison

4/30/2009 11:09:46 PM

Sounds like skydog66 got some of that $230,000

sidd

5/1/2009 3:43:43 PM

Wow! I should have taken more interest in math classes in school. And, I should have taken bookkeeping and accounting in college. Just think of how well I could be living now...

jazzwoman53

4/30/2009 11:43:12 PM

$10,000 bond seems really low!

Puck

5/1/2009 12:07:13 AM

$4200 at Vail Resorts. What, is that two days worth of fun, including parking?

Also, do these idiots ever get away with this crap?

noboresident

4/30/2009 5:06:12 PM

"Garnett said the alleged actions Turner engaged in is "surprisingly common" in Boulder County,"

Listen, I know I probably shouldn't be using this forum for networking, but I'm looking for a job. I've got lots of experience managing budgets; I'm great with numbers. So anyway, if you know of anyone hiring, just give me a shout out.

orbison

4/30/2009 5:36:17 PM

Only $10,000 for bail..... I wonder where she got the money to bail out?

fardila@hotmail.com

4/30/2009 5:38:13 PM

If I owned a business I would have a very hard time trusting finances to anyone. I would probably demand that the books be audited constantly - I'm sure that's expensive, but surely cheaper than $200K.

paoniapbud

4/30/2009 5:47:12 PM

She's foxy looking.

Please let her go.

thinice

4/30/2009 6:04:31 PM

I worked at a company years ago where the controller was doing some very creative things with the books. He avoided detection by hiring the most brain-dead people to work in his department. Eventually one of the only good employees he had figured out what was going on and he got transferred to an office in a very nice city in exchange for keeping his trap shut. This kind of thing is common all over.

TrickiWoo

4/30/2009 6:34:25 PM

Where did she get the $10K for the bond? Savings?

joker49

4/30/2009 6:54:39 PM

After 9/11, the government converted the agencies that go after white collar crimes to anti-terrorism. So now what do you expect is going to happen when no one is looking over your shoulder?

broulder

4/30/2009 7:48:04 PM

"Garnett said the alleged actions Turner engaged in is "surprisingly common" in Boulder County, particularly at smaller companies where employees are entrusted with company funds and protocols for handling money and accounting for expenditures may not be in place."

++++++++++++++++++++

I guess you can expect this type of behavior in Longmont most of the ti.... what?

Boulder? This was in Boulder?

What will the idiots say now?

StalinsBooger

5/1/2009 7:03:06 AM

A fool and his money are soon parted.

Especially when there is a crafty hoe involved.

sidd

5/1/2009 7:25:27 AM