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Former CSI Worker Charged in Embezzlement

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CSI campus exterior

The College of Southern Idaho campus in Twin Falls.

TWIN FALLS • A former College of Southern Idaho employee has been charged with grand theft after allegedly embezzling money from the school.

Dawn Marie Orr, 41, of Twin Falls, is accused of five felony counts. She allegedly stole $530,556.29 from the college over five years, court documents say.

A new case was filed Wednesday in Twin Falls County District Court, and a felony summons was issued, ordering Orr to make an initial appearance in court within five days, at noon on a Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.

In late September, CSI announced that a longtime business office employee was being investigated on suspicion of stealing money.

CSI and Twin Falls police didn’t release Orr’s name.

The alleged crime was discovered in July, and police had been investigating since.

By early December, police turned over their case to the Twin Falls County prosecutor.

Court records give this account:

Last July 31, Orr and a friend entered CSI’s business office and asked to meet with Mike Mason, vice president of administration, and Dean of Finance Jeffrey Harmon.

“She said, ‘I took some money from the college, and I have so much guilt that I cannot live with it any longer.’”

Orr, who was Mason’s assistant, said she had a gambling problem. She said she exchanged checks for cash from the safe and overstated third-party billings.

She said she took $50,000 to $100,000 over a couple of years. But court records say she stole more than $530,000 from fiscal years 2010 to 2014.

Orr admitted to detectives that she’d taken money since 2007, but several years expired under the statute of limitations.

Police were dispatched to the college Aug. 8 on a report that an employee embezzled money. Detectives interviewed Orr on Aug. 13 in the presence of her attorney. Orr spoke voluntarily.

Detectives also interviewed CSI finance employees.

On Sept. 29, the exact amount of stolen money was presented to Orr.

“Orr expressed disbelief at the enormous figures of missing funds,” court records say. “When asked if Orr kept records of the dollar amounts that she took, she said she had not kept any records.”

Orr didn’t have a combination to the college’s safe, but she had a key to the vault room.

“She had access to the safe throughout the day due to CSI’s practice of opening the safe in the morning and leaving it open during business hours as long as someone was physically present in the Business Office area where the safe and vault room are located,” court records state.

The college since has changed its financial controls.

In November, CSI trustees heard 10 recommendations from certified fraud examiner Denise McClure, of Averti Solutions.

She reviewed cash receiving and payroll processes, and she audited the period from July 1, 2012, through July 31, 2014.

Some job descriptions were revised, and a part-time controller was added to address internal controls and provide fiscal oversight.

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