Rodeo queen accused of embezzling $22,000

Chelsi Horton has been charged with felony grand theft.

BOISE -- A 23-year-old Kuna woman has been charged with grand theft for stealing more than $20,000 from a former employer.

Chelsi Ann Horton, the former BSU Bronco girl and current Caldwell Night Rodeo Queen, turned herself in at the Ada County Jail Wednesday.

Ada County Sheriff's Office detectives say Horton embezzled $22,000 while working as a bookkeeper for a company in Canyon County. She's accused of paying herself more than her salary between November 2012 and October 2013, including paying herself for overtime while she wasn't working.

Detectives believe Horton also deposited checks to her personal account that were earmarked for other businesses.

The investigation began in April, and a warrant was issued for Horton last week.

She faces a charge of felony grand theft, and is currently free on a $10,000 bond.

Horton is due to appear in court August 20. Grand theft is punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

Horton's attorney, Dennis Sallaz, released a statement saying:

"In our preliminary and ongoing investigation into this matter, we have discovered that King Concrete Construction Company, owned and operated by Gene and Stephanie King, employed Miss Horton during the same time they allegedly became delinquent on back taxes and other violations which they are currently being investigated for by the IRS. We believe the pending charges against Miss Horton are an attempt to place blame for any monetary shortfalls owed to the IRS upon Miss Horton while she was an employee, and when we discovered that they had filed these allegations against her, we immediately contacted the Sheriff's Office and arranged for Miss Horton to make a voluntary appearance in an effort to get these spurious allegations against our client into the court as soon as possible."

KTVB also talked with the President of the Caldwell Night Rodeo late Thursday afternoon.

He said until Horton's legal matters are addressed, they are removing her from public events.


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