BONANZA, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A former Bonanza treasurer has been arrested and charged with stealing over $38,000 from the city.

An arrest warrant was issued on November 23 for Laurie Lynn Denham, 57, charging her with theft of property in excess of $25,000, a class B felony. She was booked into the Sebastian County Jail and released on a $3,500 bond.

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 2018-2022. 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.

According to court documents, auditors learned that this was “because the checks were altered in the city database after the checks were deposited in the bank.” There were also “multiple checks missing from the audit” and some information provided to auditors was covered or redacted to hide the payee on checks.

Additionally, auditors found that numerous e-gift card purchases were made with the city’s credit card and all of those were reportedly delivered to Denham’s personal email account. The gift cards were from stores such as JCPenney, Ulta, and Bed, Bath, and Beyond and they totaled over $21,000.

The audit revealed alleged salary overpayments of $16,708, for a total of $38,042 in unauthorized disbursements to Denham. An additional $178,874 in funds are unaccounted for, including over $173,000 in undeposited water bill payments, but court documents state that those are not directly attributable to Denham.

She was also arrested for theft by receiving in 2016.

Denham’s arraignment in the circuit court of Sebastian County is scheduled for December 7. An investigation by the prosecuting attorney and Arkansas State Police is ongoing.