The Treasurer for the
‘Friends of Uintah and Daggett Counties Children’s Justice Center’ was
arrested on Wednesday after an investigation into the handling of the
organization’s account revealed unauthorized charges and withdrawals dating
back nearly 10 years. According to the Affidavit of Probable Cause filed in 8th
District Court, 41-year-old Michelle Lyn Coon was arrested on the offense of
felony Theft and was booked into Uintah County Jail. The probable cause
statement provides the account of an officer with Wasatch County Sheriff’s
Office that was asked to conduct the investigation after suspicious charges
were noticed on the account and the Uintah County Attorney and local law
enforcement decided the case should be handled by an outside agency. The
officer’s investigation revealed that the unauthorized amount of charges and
withdraws came to over $145,000 dollars and included purchases at fast food
restaurants, shoe and clothing stores, online shopping, phone charges, and
more. The ending numbers on the credit card used matched the credit card issued
to Michelle Coon, as the Treasurer. Copies of checks were also discovered
amounting to thousands of dollars that were made out to Coon. The officer
interviewed Coon at the Vernal Police Department and after being read her
Miranda rights, Coon agreed to an interview. When asked what she thought the
interview was about she “came forward with the fact that she had taken money
from the Children’s Justice Center account she was in charge of by way of
withdrawing from ATM’s, Debit Card use and writing checks to herself.” Coon
also estimated that she had been doing this for at least 10 years and stated
that she was the only one who knew about her taking the money. When asked if
she had done this to any other charities or businesses, Coon said that she
hadn’t. Funds in the ‘Friends of Uintah & Daggett Counties Children’s
Justice Center’ account are gathered through donations which are then intended
for use by the Children’s Justice Center. Bail was set for Coon in the amount
of $10,000 dollars.