BONANZA, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A former treasurer for the city of Bonanza has avoided prison time and has been ordered to pay restitution as part of a plea deal.
Laurie Lynn Denham, 57, was arrested Nov. 23, 2022, and charged with theft of property in excess of $25,000.
According to court documents, a city of Bonanza legislative audit revealed that there were “many discrepancies” where city and bank documents differed during Denham’s tenure from 2018-22.
Those differences led to further investigation by auditors, and subsequently a criminal investigation.
The investigation found that Denham reportedly issued herself checks from the city’s accounts “over and above her normal weekly paychecks.” In some cases, the city documents showed payouts to different entities than those listed on bank statements.
Denham also made numerous e-gift card purchases with the city’s credit card and all of those were reportedly delivered to Denham’s personal email account.
The gift cards were for stores such as JCPenney, Ulta and Bed, Bath, and Beyond and totaled over $21,000.
Court documents show that restitution to the city of Bonanza in the amount of $38,042 has already been paid by Denham, and her plea deal requires that restitution in the amount of $24,050 be paid to the division of legislative audit.
Denham was reportedly facing a 20-year sentence before pleading guilty and taking the deal.