A woman who was once honored as an outstanding employee now admits that she stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from the disabled men and women she was supposed to be serving.
A State Auditor's report released this week dug up more than $300,000 in missing money that was taken from the Morgan Center in Bremerton. Much of that money was stolen from the personal spending accounts of disabled residents, and some was taken from donated money.
The center's former fiscal analyst, Kristi Osborne, oversaw the funds and already pleaded guilty to stealing the money.
"It's significant on a couple of levels," said Mindy Chambers of the State Auditor's Office. "These were patient funds. These patients were disabled, so it's very important that they account for that money."
A DSHS internal audit first found the missing money. Auditors discovered altered receipts and fabricated checks, and often the amounts didn't add up.
"I don't know if you've ever been betrayed. Ít was pretty awful for the rest of the employees because this person was a pretty key person," said DSHS's Linda Rolfe.
Osborne was fired and in January she pleaded guilty to stealing the money. She's now waiting to be sentenced.
The Morgan Center has since closed and its residents were reimbursed. The state now assures taxpayers it will do better in the future.
"It's always disturbing when you see misappropriation," Chambers said. "And you wonder why it happens, how it happens, and those sorts of things. But again, it was found, it was detected and there are good systems in place to be sure it doesn't happen again."
The Morgan Center closed late last year as part of statewide restructuring. The closure was not related to the thefts.
Osborne declined to comment on this story. She is scheduled to be sentenced June 28th.