A former Santa Barbara County employee, accused of stealing $14,000 from the county via unauthorized use of a county gas card and by writing county checks to herself, was tracked down and arrested on Saturday.
Kathleen Gentile, 46, was arrested without incident at the San Diego Airport as she was about to board a flight to Dallas. She is accused of taking more than $14,000 over a nine-month span in 2007 while working as a secretary in the Planning and Development Department.
When she appears in Santa Barbara Superior Court, expected to be next Tuesday, she’ll face 13 felony charges — 11 counts of forgery with a check, one count of grand theft by embezzlement, and one count of grand theft by using a credit card — according to Senior Deputy District Attorney Lee Carter.
According to Interim County Human Resources Director Jeri Muth, Gentile worked as a secretary to the building official in the Planning and Development Department from September 2005 to October 2007. She didn’t work in any other county departments.
Authorities say she allegedly used a county gas card for her personal vehicle, and wrote herself checks using a county checkbook. After an investigation by the Sheriff’s Department, she was ordered to appear in court in March 2008, but never showed and fled the area.
An investigation led detectives to her location, though Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Drew Sugars said he couldn’t get into the information that led them to her.