Former Blanchard Library bookkeeper arrested for alleged embezzlement

October 23, 2015
Santa Paula News

The former Blanchard Community Library bookkeeper was arrested Thursday for allegedly embezzling more than $200,000 of library funds over at least a decade according to a statement by District Attorney Greg Totten.

Tammy Jean Ferguson, 55, of Santa Paula, was arrested in Camarillo Thursday on eight felony counts of embezzlement, misappropriation of public funds and falsifying accounts. The charges include a special allegation that Ferguson stole more than $200,000. Totten’s statement noted that Ferguson was hired by BCL in 1993 and from 2003 to 2013 was the library’s “sole financial officer.” According to Totten, “The library is funded primarily by taxes on citizens living within its district.” It is alleged that starting in 2006 Ferguson embezzled money using the library-issued credit card for personal purchases by transferring funds to her personal credit cards, and withdrawing cash using an ATM and debit card on a library account. There have been tumultuous times for the independent library: in April 2013 the BCL Board, fired Librarian Dan Robles following a year of public criticism and contentious meetings. The rising controversy had contributed to two new members being elected to the five-trustee panel in November 2012. Robles had been employed by BCL for more than 30 years, starting as a teenage volunteer. Sometime in May 2013, the library no longer employed bookkeeper Ferguson. Robles, who was making more than $70,000 annually plus benefits, later filed a lawsuit against the board for breach of contract and wrongful termination. Among the responses listed by the board against Robles was mismanagement; the board later settled with Robles who received a $35,000 payment. In August 2013 the library board announced they were launching an investigation into approximately $750,000 of missing money. Just less than a year ago the library’s insurer paid $450,000 on the BCL claim that funds had been embezzled. Bail for Ferguson was set at $40,000; if convicted she could face up to 12 years 4 months, the maximum term.

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