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A woman accused of stealing from her employer over several years has a trial date set for April 27.

Arlene K. Long, 52, of Logansport, received her court date at her Thursday initial hearing.

She also told Cass Circuit Court Judge Stephen Roger Kitts II that although she didn’t have an attorney she intended to hire one rather than go with a public defender.

Long’s next court date is Feb. 23. She faces up to six years in prison for Level 5 felony fraud on a financial institution and up to two years and six months in prison on each of two Level 6 felony charges, fraud and theft where value of property is between $750 and $50,000.

Long is a former secretary at Chas. A. Michael, 431 High St. Long had been allegedly using business accounts for personal purchases.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Det. Flaude Dillon was contacted on Dec. 16, 2019 by Bill Hayden — who works at Chas. A. Michael. He indicated that a former employee had been using business accounts for personal purchases.

Long worked for Chas. A. Michael from April of 2015 until she quit at the end of October 2019.

The fraud was discovered by Theresa Key, a temporary secretary who was brought in to keep the business running until a full-time replacement for Long could be hired.

During that time, Key found discrepancies in the business’ financials. She observed on credit card statements several purchases from Amazon. When Key asked about these purchases, she was informed the business did not purchase items from Amazon. When Key looked into the company’s Amazon account, she found purchases of women’s clothing and shoes. A closer look at the Amazon account showed the mailing address was changed from 431 High St. to Long’s address, and that the name on the mailing address had also been changed from Chas. A. Michael to Arlene Long.

When they looked at the card being used to purchase these items, they did not recognize the card number as one that was approved by the business. The business was also able to locate two credit cards that the business did not approve being opened.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Key also found purchases for Kid Rock concert tickets along with multiple other items on the credit card statements. Long allegedly had photos of the Kid Rock concert on her Facebook page.

Dillon was advised that one of the credit card bills was also being sent to Long’s residence.

Key was able to locate where Long was allegedly using company money to pay the credit card statements and how she was listing these items as advertising or miscellaneous payments.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Long allegedly made several comments during her employment about how the business was broke and there wasn’t enough money to pay the employees Christmas bonuses.

A search warrant approved on Dec. 19, 2019. A search was conducted of Long’s property and multiple items were identified as being the those purchased through the Amazon account. Paperwork for a credit card was found in a spare bedroom which was in the name of Chas. A. Michael, and multiple receipts from Home Depot were located in the dining room that matched the business’s account number.

Dillon was given several pages from the company’s Home Depot Commercial Account which had multiple purchases that were not for the company. Home Depot has been contacted and is attempting to get video for as many of the purchases as possible. As of Dec. 19, there were 21 purchases that were in question for a total of $2,046.50.

The totals of purchases off Amazon add up to approximately $944.58.

Of the 22 purchases on the Amazon account, 19 of the items were located at Long’s residence.

According to the affidavit, Dillon asked Long why she was writing herself an extra payroll check between the amounts of $225 and $275 every pay week. She advised this was for insurance reimbursement. Dillon was told that this was a possible reason for the extra payroll check, but the company was unsure.

During a recorded audio and video interview, Long admitted she had used the company card for personal purchases and stated she had permission. She also stated she had paid the money owed. According to the affidavit, there were several bills that had not been paid since June of 2019.

Steve Heinrich, owner of Chas. A. Michael stated in the probable cause affidavit that he did not give permission for this to be done. Hayden stated that it is absolutely not a common practice for employees to make personal purchases on a company card.

Reach Tyra Bahney at tyra.bahney@pharostribune.com or 574-732-5150.

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