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Association treasurer charged with theft

A treasurer of a homeowners' association in Hastings, Karen Esther Sutton, 64, has been charged with three counts of theft - aggregating ($1,000 to $5,000) after she deposited homeowners dues into the association account, but then withdrew some of the cash -- totaling more than $10,000.

According to the criminal complaint, Hastings police were contacted Nov. 21, 2011 by the president of the association. The president said that Sutton has been treasurer of the association for about 18 years, and then another member took over.

The new treasurer received bank statements for the association's account and determined that there were some occasions where Sutton would make deposits into the account and received cash back without authority. On eight occasions, Sutton received $3,450 back in cash. Sutton apparently also withdrew $500 from the association's saving account without approval. She also issued checks to her husband on at least three occasions. They totaled $6,600. Sutton said the funds were for lawn services he provided.

According to the association's bylaws, the board of directors (which includes the treasurer) shall receive no compensation for their services. The bylaws further state that the treasurer does not have authority to take cash out of any association account.