Oct. 9, 2012
Hannah Guzik, OVN contributor
The Ventura County District Attorney’s office plans to charge the former treasurer of the Ojai Eagles Youth Football League with embezzlement at an arraignment hearing next month, said Deputy District Attorney Kim Gibbons. Amber Workman, 37, is accused of stealing at least $35,000 from the nonprofit organization between 2007 and 2009, according to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department. The Ojai resident was arrested June 27 after detectives say she allegedly stole between $35,000 and $49,000 from the league during her time as treasurer, officials said. The district attorney’s office took several months to review the investigation and request more information from deputies before deciding to pursue the case, Gibbons said. “I needed some more information when I first got the case, and after I got the information, I accepted it for prosecution,” he said. “It took a long time for the investigation and then we had to schedule a court date.” Gibbons accepted the case for prosecution on Sept. 11. He will assign the case to one of the attorneys in his office after Workman’s Nov. 13 arraignment, he said. Workman’s attorney, Richard Hanawalt, said she is innocent of all charges and that the case is one of having too many cooks in the kitchen. “The problem with this kind of operation, with a community volunteer organization, is that there is a replacement of people occurring rapidly,” he said. “The problem the DA is running up against is spotting a straight line of responsibility.” Hanawalt said the financial records Workman has provided to him show no wrongdoing. “We haven’t the faintest idea of where this idea of $35,000 or any amount came from,” he said. “My client has assured me that everything was on the up and up and that the board was kept apprised of everything. We are ready to prove her innocence.” Investigators say Workman allegedly obtained a debit card for the league’s bank account and began using it for personal transactions during her time as treasurer. League officials contacted the sheriff’s office after the state of California notified the organization that its nonprofit status was being suspended for failing to file tax returns from 2007 to 2009. Workman was booked in the Ventura County Jail on $30,000 bail and was released June 28, after posting bail, Gibbons said. She is scheduled to appear at the Nov. 13 arraignment. If convicted of grand theft, she could face up to three years in jail, Gibbons said.