An Elkins woman is facing three felony charges for allegedly embezzling more than $100,000, some of which came from her co-workers' Christmas Club accounts, police said Monday.
Rogina Faye Helmick, 38, of 55 Logan Drive, Elkins, is being charged with felony counts of embezzlement, fraudulent schemes and uttering for allegedly using computer software to print herself extra paychecks from her employer, Select In-Home Services. The crimes occurred over a two-year period and Helmick told police she spent the money on clothing and appliances. She was arraigned in Randolph County Magistrate Court on Monday and released on a $40,000 cash and surety bond.
According to a criminal complaint filed in Randolph County Magistrate Court, Helmick allegedly took $107,956.46. The money came from different sources including: $95,456.96 in extra payroll checks, $7,994.40 in Sears payments and $4,505 from employee Christmas Club accounts
According to the complaint, West Virginia State Police Trooper S.E. Hevener spoke with business owners Pamela and Kathy Miller on April 1 and was told Helmick admitted to embezzling money from the business for two and a half years. Hevener was provided with bank statements from 2008 through 2011 for the business and a folder labeled "Extra Checks." He was also given paperwork with Sears payments and dates.
"Pamela Miller advised that this information was given to her by Rogina Helmick and these were the amounts that were paid on Ms. Helmick's personal Sears account," the complaint states.
The Millers provided Hevener with several items showing how and where the money was taken. The officer was given two printed text messages that were sent from Helmick to Pamela Miller in which Helmick apologizes for what she did to the business. Hevener was also given a termination letter, signed by Helmick, that indicates she was fired for embezzling money. In addition, there were 14 checks given to Hevener that were stamped with Pam Miller's name.
According to the complaint, part of the files Hevener received included a request for an advance sheet indicating the business was asking that $8,000 to be transferred into a bank account, and a stop payment request order on a $28,410.86 check for a IRS USA Tax Payment which indicated the account would be overdrawn if the check went through.
"The ... officer received a state tax department payment request showing that the business was attempting to pay the taxes which were never sent by Rogina Helmick," the complaint states.
In a written statement, Pamela Miller says over the past year she had noticed that some things were not right with the finances of the business.
"Ms. Miller advised the business was short on money at times and was struggling to pay bills on time," the complaint states. "Ms. Miller advised she spoke to Ms. Helmick regarding this because Ms. Helmick was the line bookkeeper for the business at this time."
According to the complaint, Kathy Price was hired to help Helmick "catch up." While she and Miller were cleaning out files, they found the unpaid state taxes and checks stamped with Pamela Miller's name and appeared to be hidden. Miller said the checks had not been signed or sent to the business or person they were intended for.
The complaint states that the business discovered Helmick had been writing additional payroll checks to herself, 18 of which had been written in December 2010 alone.
According to the complaint, Miller confronted Helmick about the checks. Helmick said she did not mail them out because the business did not have the money. Miller told Helmick she knew about the extra checks she wrote to herself.
"Ms. Miller advised Ms. Helmick began to cry, said she would pay the money back and advised she didn't want to go to jail," the complaint states.
The officer also obtained a statement from Kathy Miller, who said she was contacted by the bank about a voicemail from someone claiming to be her and wanting to transfer money from a credit line to the business's bank account. Kathy Miller said she did not contact the bank. She told the officer she did not see Helmick doing anything wrong, but Helmick did tell her how she had taken the money.
"Helmick told her she would print her regular check and then reprint another check using Quickbooks software," the complaint states. "... she would reprint the checks in amounts that added up to the amount of tax payments or bill payments that were to be sent out."
According to the complaint, on April 7, the officer was contacted by Pamela Miller and was told Helmick may have been taking money from employees' Christmas Club accounts. On April 8, the officer was provided with a list of employees and the amounts of money that were owed to them.
According to the complaint, on April 15 Helmick provided a seven-page handwritten statement to Hevener. In the statement, Helmick said she worked for the business from January 2008 to March 2011. She said her salary fluctuated because she had been late on tax payments which resulted in penalties for the business and the decrease in pay was to make up for the penalties.
"The suspect advised the reason the tax payments were late was because she was taking money and there wasn't enough to pay these bills," the complaint states.
Helmick told the officer that she was using the Quickbooks software to reprint her paychecks, some of which she deposited while others were cashed.
"The suspect advised she deposited the checks in an account belonging the her husband, Jerry Helmick," the complaint states. "The suspect advised this account was at Woodforest National Bank."
According to the complaint, Helmick said her husband "doesn't deal with their money" and she never had to explain where the money was coming from.
"The suspect advised she kept a lot of the cash, gave some to her church, and paid her sisters to babysit her children with the money," the complaint states. "The suspect advised that her family went out to eat a lot and a lot of the money went to that."
According the complaint, Helmick also spent money on clothes that she hid from her husband; video games and other items for her children; an expensive television and a washer and dryer.
"The suspect advised she made four payments on her Sears account using the business's bank account," the complaint states. "The suspect advised when the business offered to hire someone to help her, she was completely against it because she was trying to hide some things and didn't want to get caught."
According to the complaint, Helmick said she had put some pre-stamped checks away in the safe "when she realized the business was getting close to catching her."