IDAHO FALLS — The former office manager of Young Electric Heating & Air has been charged for stealing an estimated $176,776.25 from her employer.
Tiffany Chase, 32, admitted to forging checks and misusing company funds for her personal use. Additionally, Chase admitted to not filing the company’s taxes for two years then forging the company’s records to make it seem as if she had filed the taxes, according to the probable cause affidavit. The Idaho Falls company now owes an estimated $250,000 in taxes and interest.
Phil Young, the owner of Young Electric Heating & Air, called the Idaho Falls Police Department in October after discovering the fraud. At the time he believed the fraud was between $30,000 and $50,000.
Chase had left the company before the fraud was discovered, training another employee as her replacement.
According to the affidavit, the company discovered checks for Chase that had Young’s forged signature.
A credit card meant for fuel expenses had been used for $15,852.81 in personal purchases for Chase. The forged checks totaled $161,330.07, going back to 2016.
Young told the Post Register that Chase had “about destroyed my life and destroyed my business.”
Police interviewed Chase in November, during which she admitted to the fraud. She said she stole the money because her personal spending was “out of control” and that she had applied for and maxed out several credit cards. She said she could not pay the costs of a planned wedding and began embezzling the money by forging Young’s signature.
“Tiffany stated this forgery of checks continued over the years and she kept taking money from Young Electric and she couldn’t stop or control herself and she hated herself for it,” an officer wrote in his report.
She also admitted to misusing company credit cards until November 2018 when the company revoked them to reduce expenses.
Sometime between August and October, Chase began to worry the company suspected she was committing fraud. She told police she forged checks for an additional $4,000 and intended to use the money to flee with her children.
When Young Electric Heating & Air learned its taxes had not been filed for 2017, 2018 and 2019, police questioned Chase. She admitted to falsifying the company’s tax records for 2018 and 2019, but said she believed she did file the taxes for 2017.
Chase has been charged with two counts of grand theft and one count of forgery, all punishable with up to 14 years in prison. She was released from jail Wednesday on pretrial supervision.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Feb. 4 in the Bonneville County Courthouse.