The former bookkeeper of the now-defunct BuilderNews a building trade magazine published in Vancouver, Washington appeared in court on Wednesday on a charge of embezzling more than $500,000 from PNW Publishing over a period of five years.
Patricia Long, 59, was arrested in her home on Tuesday following a 10-month investigation. She will be arraigned May 16.
According to a story in The Columbian, Long was asked to resign in July 2011 but the financial loss was so large that the company went out of business late last year, taking with it nine jobs.
“She put a lot of people out of work,” said Denise Curry-Rothwell, publisher of BuilderNews. “She ought to be ashamed.”
Curry-Rothwell said she hoped the case would be an object lesson for small business owners to take a more active role in their own bookkeeping and be more vigilant.
“Do what you have to do,” she said. “You can’t just relinquish that (the bookkeeping) over because you don’t have the time.”
PNW Publishing at one point had $2.5 million in annual revenue. BuilderNews circulated throughout the U.S.