A former employee of the Methow Valley News has been charged in Okanogan County Superior Court with alleged first-degree theft from the newspaper, as well as forgery and identity theft that allegedly occurred during her tenure at the newspaper.
Rebecca M. Walker Vaughan, 34, of Carlton, pled not guilty to all the charges at an arraignment in Superior Court on Monday (July 23). Okanogan County Prosecutor Branden Platter, who filed the charges, said an omnibus hearing is scheduled for Aug. 20.
In a charging document filed June 29 with the Superior Court, Platter listed three counts: theft in the first degree, alleging “unauthorized control” over “currency of value exceeding $5,000;” forgery related to a document allegedly submitted to the state Department of Social and Health Services; and second-degree identity theft allegedly related to that same document. The maximum penalty for the first count is 10 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine; the maximum penalty for each of the second and third counts is five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.
In filing the alleged charges, Platter cited information and materials gathered in an investigation by Twisp Police Chief Paul Budrow over the past several months. Vaughan was employed as business manager of the newspaper from 2014 to 2017.
Methow Valley News publisher Don Nelson said he would not comment on the charges.