Trial starts for woman in $1.7 million embezzlement

Springfield company said money went missing over a decade.

Lisa Blevins, 55, of Tacoma Street, is charged with two counts of felony theft and 10 counts of forgery. Her attorney, Wolodymyr Strileckyj, asked for a bench trial, meaning the case will be considered by visiting Judge William McCracken and not a jury.

During opening statements, Clark County Assistant Prosecutor Bill Merrell said their investigation indicated Blevins stole $1,768,287.93 from her employer, Kreider Corporation, by forging 1,059 checks. She would manually enter the checks into the company’s system to match a legitimate business. However, the amounts were not paid to those companies but to herself or one of her accounts.

In some instances, she allegedly used the funds for purchases at stores like Kohl’s and Macy’s to pay off her own credit cards or the one she opened for her daughter, and to buy her son a car.

The thefts were discovered last year, Merrell said, when Kreider’s vice president and general manager John Patton confronted her about five forged checks. Blevins reportedly admitted to taking the money — $29,429.74 — to pay off her Capital One credit card. She informed the company she would use her 401(k) to pay off the debt, but was fired from her job April 15. Audits of Kreider’s accounts showed much more money was missing, and in some cases the checks were deposited into Blevins’ accounts or that of her son and daughter, Merrell said.

“In retrospect, John Patton thought ‘It’s bad times, resources are increasing in cost, our revenues are down.’ But he placed his trust in Lisa Blevins and had no concept that she was embezzling money,” Merrell said.

While Blevins “admitted to some indiscretions” to her employer, Strileckyj said his client never admitted to forgery. Analysis of the forged checks could not verify Blevins forged the signature on all 1,059, but only about 110, he said. He also questioned whether there was enough evidence to link checks that were deposited in accounts to his client.

“Even of those 110, 115 checks that may be traced signature-wise to Lisa Blevins, there’s nothing that indicates who, what, why, where, when those checks were placed in other accounts, even some of (those) of Lisa Blevins,” he said.

The trial is expected to stretch over the next three weeks. Blevins is also facing a civil lawsuit filed by Kreider Corp. She is out of jail, after posting a $200,000 bond.

Kreider Corp. is metal stamping company with assembly, welding, tool making, product and tool design capabilities for the automotive, heavy truck, electronics, military, transportation and other industries, according to the company’s website.

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