Woman charged with embezzling over $15,000 from vet practice…
An Alva woman has been charged with felony embezzlement in Woods County. Penney Elizabeth Hilbig, 49, was charged Oct. 22. She posted a $15,000 bond on Oct. 23.
According to court documents, Hilbig worked in the office at Ridgeview Veterinary Hospital. Her veterinarian husband, Dr. Doug Hilbig, worked there also, and they had bought into the business.
According to a statement filed by Woods County Undersheriff Steven Ward, Dr. Terry Lohmann contacted the district attorney’s office on July 11 reporting a theft. In an interview at Ridgeview, Lohmann told Ward that the clinic was missing at least $15,000 cash. Lohmann said he started noticing that cash was not making it to the bank in late April. Around the first of May, he said he asked Dr. Hilbig, “Where does our cash go?” Dr. Hilbig said, “To the bank I guess.”
Lohmann said he had taken all the paperwork to his accountant, Jim Pfeiffer who said Ridgeview was missing $15,338.48 from Jan. 1, 2012, to June 30, 2012. Lohmann said Penney Hilbig was the office manager and handled most of the deposits during that period. He said neither Dr. Hilbig nor Penney Hilbig ever told him about missing money. He said that if they were missing a check Penney would track it down.
On June 28 Lohmann said, he counted the cash in the cash drawer. Later Penney Hilbig came to work and took the deposit to the bank. Lohmann said the deposit was short $200 cash.
On July 17 Undersheriff Ward interviewed J.C. Brown, an employee of Ridgeview. Brown said he worked at Ridgeview for five years. He described Penney Hilbig’s job as “like an office manager.” He said she would track down and find a misplaced check if it was not put in the deposit drawer. On July 23 Ward interviewed another employee, Desarea Howard. She said Penney Hilbig was in charge of the money. She also said Penney would track down missing checks if they were not turned in.
On July 31 Ward interviewed Maggie Hilbig, an employee at Ridgeview and the daughter of Penney. She said when she was working, she worked up front. She said her mother handled the money. She said if other employees did not put checks in the drawer, Penney would track them down. She said Penney was the only one who would stay on top of it.
Undersheriff Ward talked with Penney Hilbig on July 19. She said she works in the front office at Ridgeview. She said she noticed money missing in February and said something to Lohman about it. She said she had not said anything since about any missing money. She said sometimes employees would enter paid with a check and they would not put the check in the drawer. She would then track them down and find the check. She said she keeps pretty good track of things like that.
Ward told her that other employees were saying that she took the money. She said, “Prove it. Why would I steal my own money?” She said the “starting money” was never stolen, it was always the deposits. She also told Ward that she and her husband were “looking for a way out.” They did not like the arrangement at Ridgeview. She said she hoped Dr. Lohmann would buy them out.
On Aug. 8 Ward told Dr. Hilbig and Dr. Lohmann he was going to schedule polygraphs for the next week. Both agreed everyone would take one. On Friday, Aug. 10, Deputy Ethan McOsker went to Ridgeview and informed Dr. Lohmann that Penney would be the first to take the test on Monday, Aug. 13, at 10 a.m.
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