Woman sentenced for embezzlement of thousands

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By Lisa King

A former employee of a local non-profit organization has received a prison sentence of four years for stealing thousands of dollars from the company, according to Shelby County Circuit Court records.

Kimberly Stevenson Pappas, 51, of Louisville, was granted supervised felony diversion after entering a guilty plea to the charge of theft by unlawful taking over $300, a class D felony.

The diversion program allows first-time offenders to get the charge dismissed if all conditions of the court are met, such as community service, restitution, and staying out of trouble for the time specified.

The theft was discovered in early 2007 by Barry Palm, executive director of the Professional Clubmakers' Society (PCS) in Simpsonville, where Pappas worked, according to Kentucky State Police records.

One day when Pappas was not at work, Palm took a phone call from a company that called to inform the Society that they owed them in excess of $29,000. Palm, alarmed, questioned Pappas, and was not satisfied with her answer, according to the report. He began examining the company's accounting books, and his concern grew.

The reports state that after it became obvious to him that Pappas had neglected her accounting duties and possibly was involved with the theft of money, the board asked for her resignation. She agreed, and resigned on Feb. 8.

Shortly after her resignation, the Society received four large, unexplained deposits from Pappas, in the amounts of $11,000; $10,000; $3,000; and $11,000 for a total of $35,000.

Shelby County chief deputy Gene Witt, accompanied by KSP, then went to read the Miranda Rights to her. According to the report, she confessed to taking money but told Witt she didn't think she was in much trouble because she had paid the money back. When the officers told her that according to the audit, the amount missing was more twice what she had paid back, "she seemed astonished at the amount."

The report lists the amount stolen at $77,834, and lists evidence of the crime as a taped statement and audit records. According to the report, Pappas "took advantage of her position and unlawfully took monies that belonged to her employer and used them for her own personal benefit. The theft took place between February 2006 and February 2007."

Robert Dodds of Louisville, former executive and technical director with the PCS, expressed shock and astonishment at the situation.

"I worked with her for 10 years and all that time I was deceived," he said. "And the worse thing is that she has no remorse. To her, it's no big deal if she pays it back. But because of her actions, the PCS is in deep trouble. It is closed right now, and it's a 50-50 chance whether the organization can survive."

Dobbs said Pappas was the controller at the PCS.

"She had complete control of all company finances," he said.

The PCS was founded in 1988 by the late Elmore Just. His widow, Lauren Just, said she was saddened that what her husband built may end in ruin.

"It's really sad. This organization grew from just six customers to 1,600 worldwide, and now if they can rebuild, it will a miracle," she said.

Circuit court records say that the amount of restitution that Pappas will be required to pay back is yet to be determined. That hearing is set for May 19.

Pappas did not return a call from The Sentinel-News offering her the opportunity to comment.