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Former Idaho irrigation district treasurer accused of embezzling $1.8 million

A former employee of Black Canyon Irrigation District allegedly embezzled nearly $1.8 million from the district over three years.
Credit: Lawrence Buys

NOTUS, Idaho —

This story originally appeared in the Idaho Press 

A former employee of Black Canyon Irrigation District allegedly embezzled nearly $1.8 million from the district over three years. 

The district, which is headquartered in Notus, hired Catherine A. Skidmore in 2014 as its secretary and treasurer, according to an amended complaint filed on Sept. 1 in Canyon County. Beginning in June 2019, Skidmore allegedly began creating double entry transactions to cover up diverting money from the district’s bank accounts for her own gain, eventually diverting a total $1,792,245.62 in 26 instances identified so far, the document says. 

Skidmore faces three charges — fraud, conversion, and constructive trust — and the district is asking for a jury trial, the document says. 

The district's lawyers could not immediately be reached for comment. 

Skidmore was fired in July 2022 due to the company’s “dissatisfaction with Skidmore’s work ethic, her reporting of excessive overtime hours and her negative interactions with its customers,” the document says. But just two hours after she was terminated, Skidmore withdrew $10,000 from one of the district’s bank accounts before the district could remove her from the account, the document says. 

In the week following, after Skidmore allegedly attempted a series of further efforts to transfer money, change bank account passwords, access the company’s accounting software, and remove items from her former office, a district manager and an auditor examined records that uncovered Skidmore’s alleged inappropriate manipulation of money ahead of her termination. 

With that money, Skidmore allegedly purchased real estate, or paid for improvements or property taxes, diverted money "for her sole benefit,” and gave money to her children and her friends, the document says. 

On the conversion count, the district asserts that Skidmore wrongfully converted its money, and that the district “has an absolute and unconditional right to immediate possession of monies wrongfully converted by Skidmore.” In the constructive trust count, the document says Skidmore should not be entitled to retain property of which the district is “the beneficial owner." 

Where the money went 

On Dec. 27, 2021, Skidmore asked for a cashier’s check in the amount of $170,319.79 to purchase a home at 714 E. Lake Creek St. in Meridian. This is believed to be her primary residence, the document says. 

Other payments related that property include an $8,562 cashier’s check to the mortgage lender for the property in January 2022, and an $8,655.67 cashier’s check to the same lender for three months of mortgage payments in July 2022. 

Skidmore also allegedly used a $270,000 cashier’s check for the purchase of a home in Las Vegas for her father and stepmother in September 2021, the document says. 

Skidmore allegedly used money to pay expenses on other properties she owned, too. On Dec. 15, 2021, Skidmore allegedly requested three cashier’s checks to pay property taxes: a $2,523.26 check for property taxes on 10044 Java Court, Boise, which she purchased in 2005; $1,504.90 for property taxes on 1748 Warren Wagon Road, McCall, which she purchased in 2015; and a $2,793.64 check for property taxes on 1365 W Elias Drive, Meridian, which she purchased in 2020. 

In January of 2022, Skidmore allegedly had a $75,000 cashier's check issued to pay remodeling costs for a home in Rossville, Georgia, she purchased in 2021, the document says. 

On Dec. 23, 2020, Skidmore allegedly got three cashier’s checks: a $15,000 check for her son, a $15,000 check for her daughter, and a $15,000 check for a friend. On Dec. 27, 2020, Skidmore allegedly requested a second $10,000 check for her son. 

Three other friends allegedly received checks from Skidmore ranging from $2,000 to $30,000. 

Court proceedings 

A temporary restraining order was issued in the case, according to iCourts. A motion hearing is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 15 at 3:30 p.m. in Canyon County District Court. 

This story originally appeared in the Idaho Press. Read more at IdahoPress.com 

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