A former Clearwood Community Association bookkeeper with a history of identity theft and forgery was released from Thurston County Jail following a first appearance in superior court on Tuesday for …
A former Clearwood Community Association bookkeeper with a history of identity theft and forgery was released from Thurston County Jail following a first appearance in superior court on Tuesday for charges of first-degree theft.
She is due back on March 17 for an arraignment hearing.
Dolanna K. Burnett was booked into jail on Monday, March 2, on the single felony charge, which is related to her former employer. She was released without bail after Superior Court Commissioner Rebekah Zinn determined that her history showed no flight risk.
Charging documents for the case were not immediately available as the Thurston County Prosecutor’s Office had not yet filed those as of Wednesday.
“At this time, the state is reviewing the information that it has and will be making a decision by tomorrow afternoon,” deputy prosecuting attorney Lindsey Trakel said in an email to the Nisqually Valley News on Wednesday.
Deputy prosecuting attorney Rosemary Hewitson filed a declaration of probable cause the morning after Burnett’s arrest in relation to the charges.
The state originally recommended Burnett’s bail be set at $10,000.
“We do that looking at Ms. Burnett’s criminal history, which as noted in the probable cause statement, involved a very serious charges of identity theft, forgery and those were in large amounts,” Hewitson said during the first appearance. “We’re concerned that Ms. Burnett has not changed her behavior and is now in an extreme excess … Not only is it concerning to the state the dollar amount, but it’s also concerning to the state that these are victims in the community.”
“This is not a large corporation that we would see or any type of public entity,” Hewitson continued. “These are real people and this was their real money that was put into this fund.”
Hewitson also said there was a concern — given the large amount that was allegedly stolen and her providing a post office box address to the court — that there was a high likelihood she would flee.
Zinn waived the state’s recommendation, citing Burnett’s clean history of showing up to scheduled court hearings.
Burnett has been previously found guilty of theft and forgery while she worked at the Tacoma Health Department.
Clearwood Community Association, a homeowners association in the Bald Hills area, has previously claimed that Burnett wrote multiple checks and transferred funds to herself between 2014 and 2018 as a contracted bookkeeper with the organization.
It alleges she funneled upwards of $400,000, according to previous reports.
In a Tuesday post to Clearwood’s blog, Clearwood General Manager Mitch Waterman called Burnett’s arrest a “milestone setting the stage for prosecution.”
Clearwood had previously been pursuing civil litigation against Burnett, but that has since stalled.
Waterman later told the Nisqually Valley News that Clearwood had made a request more than a year ago for the county attorney’s office to pursue this case.
When that didn’t head anywhere, the homeowner’s association proceeded with a pricey forensic audit. Waterman said they provided a preliminary copy to the district attorney's office.
Former Clearwood Community Association board president Aaron Lang attended Burnett’s hearing.
Lang, who stayed with the board following his resignation to help the homeowners association with recovering funds, detailed his relief in a Facebook post following the court appearance.
“Today's a good day for me and my community. The process for justice is now underway for a long-standing embezzlement issue that the Clearwood Community Association realized in the summer of 2018,” he wrote. “It's good to see this day in court and for this judicious process to begin.”
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