PARKER – A letter from Parker Town Manager lawyer Lori Wedemeyer helps shed light on the embezzlement case that resulted in her being placed on administrative leave and a dozen warrants to be issued by investigators.
Attorney Ashley D. Adams said the Yuma Sheriff’s Department did not have sufficient probable cause to search Wedemeyer’s home on October 19. The search warrants were executed at Parker’s town hall and Wedemeyer’s home in a case involving a former town employee accused of embezzlement. The Arizona Auditor General’s office interviewed the employee on Sept. 23 and she was fired on the basis of the interview, according to a city press release.
Less than a month later, the city council announced that Wedemeyer had been placed on indefinite leave.
The Yuma Sheriff’s Department began investigating the case because the Parker Police Department and the La Paz County Sheriff’s Department concluded that the nature of the allegations should be dealt with by an agency outside the county.
No arrests were made in this case. Tania Pavlak of the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office said 12 warrants have been issued in the case. Seven of the warrants were for bank account information. The remaining warrants were in the town of Parker and the homes of Wedemeyer and former town employee Jennifer Alcaida.
Until this week, details of the case were scarce. But Adams’ letter to Sheriff Detective Yuma Bryan Evans, sent to the Parker Pioneer on Wednesday, attempts to explain Wedemeyer’s actions in the days after the investigation was announced.
According to Adams, Wedemeyer received a text from Jennifer Alcaida saying that two people from the Arizona auditor’s office were on their way to her home. employee. The letter says Wedemeyer immediately contacted town lawyers, who advised him to collect the town’s bank statements to determine if there were any overdue checks.
That evening, according to the letter, Wedemeyer went to the town’s administrative offices where she met Parker Police Chief Mike Bailey and Planning and Zoning Administrator Nora Yackley. The group searched Wedemeyer’s office for bank statements and found many of them were missing.
The letter says that while she was in the office, Wedemeyer saw a number of personal orders from Amazon lying on her desk. She took the packages home. According to the letter, someone said they saw Wedemeyer pick up boxes from administrative offices at night, which resulted in the search warrant for his home.
Adams says she believes the tip came from Parker’s City Councilor Randy Hartless or his wife Vivian Hartless and Mayor Karen Bonds.
“Councilor Hartless has wanted Ms Wedemeyer fired since before she was elected,” Adams said.
According to the letter, Wedemeyer worked with officials at Chase Bank in the town of Lake Havasu to find three suspicious pending checks and stop payment.
Adams says Wedemeyer worked with investigators “every step of the way,” even driving officers home. Adams claims the law enforcement advice that prompted the warrant search is a false report and claims the Yuma County Sheriff’s Department did not exercise due diligence before executing the warrant.
Adams says Wedemeyer intends to seek damages in the case.