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Great Sand Dunes National Park Employee Indicted For Embezzlement

DENVERĀ  (CBS4) – A former employee of the Great Sand Dunes National Park was indicted Wednesday for alleged theft of $200,000 or more of government money, month after month from 2007 until last December.

The federal grand jury indictment of Lydia L. White, of Hooper, alleges she stole at least 145 times in amounts between $1,000 and $2,000, sometimes several times each month.

The indictment does not specify how she allegedly stole the money.

Prosecutors said in a court filing that, if convicted, the potential penalty for White is up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $1,476,862, twice the amount of the property stolen.

The indictment does not state a total amount of how much White allegedly stole.

The National Park Service said in April that an unidentified employee of the park had been dismissed for possibly having embezzled funds. Regional NPS spokesman James Doyle said an internal audit turned up discrepancies.

A court filing Wednesday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Colorado, which is prosecuting White, 47, said her last known address was Hooper.

The U.S. District Court issued a warrant for her arrest.

The indictment also charges White with 52 counts of money laundering during the same period.

Those counts allege she conducted financial transactions that she knew were proceeds from unlawful activity and conducted the transactions to hide the nature of the unlawful activity.

Special Agent Beth Shott, a law enforcement officer of the parks service, and Special Agent Elliott Salazar, a law enforcement officer of the Internal Revenue Service, conducted the investigation.


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