Woman accused of stealing $354K from her employer

Elizabeth Thomas, 29, arrested on charge of felony theft

By Erik Avanier - Reporter
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Booking photos for Elizabeth Thomas

YULEE, Fla. - A Fernandina Beach woman is under criminal investigation after Nassau County detectives arrested her last week on suspicion of stealing $354,000 from the company she worked for.

Elizabeth Thomas, 29, of Fernandina Beach is charged with felony theft. She's currently out of jail on a $25,000 bond.

According to an arrest affidavit obtained by News4Jax, Thomas was working at Coastal Building Systems as the owner’s secretary when she committed fraud.

On May 20, detectives were called to Coastal Building Systems in reference to an alleged fraud by an employee.

The owner of the business, Kerry Killen, told investigators Thomas stole $100,000 from the company between January and May.

Killen went on to explain to detectives that he discovered the theft when his accountant went through his finances and said he was missing money.

According to the affidavit, Killen reviewed his financial books and found several checks that he did not approve. He told detectives that $90,000 worth of checks were transferred from his company’s bank to an unauthorized Compass Bank account.

The checks were made out to Thomas, according to Killen.

While detectives were in Killen’s office, he said, he realized a total of $354,000 had been stolen through petty cash and checks that had been written to Thomas.

Investigators said they found that $6,000 in cash rent payments were received and stolen by Thomas.

According to the affidavit, a total of $120,000 was fraudulently moved by forgery from two accounts at the CBC National Bank to Compass Bank.

Investigators said they concluded the thefts started in early 2015 when Thomas’s mother-in-law had to leave the office for eight months. Her mother-in-law worked with Killen for 17 years.

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