Bonnie Denning of Lee County, Florida was arrested on Tuesday after authorities accused her of stealing over $800,000 from a golf products store where she worked as a bookkeeper for two years. Denning, 39, was booked into Lee County Jail on charges of first-degree grand theft and scheming to defraud. It is not known whether she has qualified for bail bond or retained a private criminal defense attorney.
Denning was apprehended after the owners of the business in question, Easy Picker Golf Products, Inc., noticed discrepancies in their records over a year ago. After they started having some financial trouble, they had a certified public accountant take a look at their records. The accountant allegedly uncovered dozens of unauthorized withdrawals by check, debit card, and wire transfer.
54 wire transfers for a total of $358,885.50, all of which had to do with Denning, were reportedly found. Some of the transfers allegedly paid for services such as a drug rehabilitation program for one of Denning’s relatives ($29,160) and granite installation for Denning’s home ($4,799.58). $269,534.88 of that total allegedly made its’ way into several businesses for which Denning is an officer or registered agent via wire transfer. The businesses reportedly include several real estate and land management companies. It is not clear whether anyone else was involved in these businesses or aware of the alleged fraud.
Denning also allegedly took out a debit card connected to the businesses’ account, which she used to make $411,387 in purchases from clothing, electronic, and furniture stores as well as gas stations and other stores. She also allegedly wrote checks from the business account to pay her personal expenses, including one for $5,295.76 for shutters for her residence.
Following the accountant’s findings, one of the owners of Easy Picker Golf Products filed a complaint with Lee County Sheriff’s Office in May 2011. The allegations were then thoroughly investigated by the Economic Crimes Unit, which determined that Denning had stolen approximately $818,339,37 between February 2010 and May 2011. She reportedly worked as a bookkeeper for the business during that time but was let go when the business owners began suspecting her of stealing funds.
Denning was not the only Floridian apprehended for theft last week. On Thursday, Stephani Baker and Jeffrey Hines were reportedly incarcerated after they were accused of attempting to steal a boat and a car in Key Largo. 22-year-old Baker, of Lake Worth, and 42-year-old Hines, of West Palm Beach, were both booked into prison on charges of burglary, grand theft, and criminal mischief. It remains unclear whether either party has received bail or retained an attorney.
News sources indicate that Baker and Hines were apprehended because of an unrelated traffic infraction. A Monroe County Sheriff’s deputy allegedly saw a Chevy towing a boat and a white truck run a stop sign at the intersection of U.S. Highwhay 1 and Cabrera Street. Hines allegedly pulled his truck over and ran away on foot, but returned a few minutes later. The detective ran a check on the boat and truck and allegedly discovered that both had been stolen.