Bookkeepers baial lowered; third-party custody approved

Posted: Thursday, April 12, 2007

The bail amount was reduced and four people were approved as third-party custodians Wednesday for the Salamatof Seafoods bookkeeper accused to embezzling more than $150,000 from the Kenai corporation and two other firms for which she kept books.

Kenai Superior Court Judge Harold Brown ordered that bail remain at $20,000 cash or corporate bond for appearance, but reduced the performance bail amount from $10,000 to $5,000 cash only.

Sheryl Dilley, 36, also will be required to be in the presence of a third-party custodian 24 hours a day, seven days a week while out on bail. Dilley has been incarcerated at Wildwood Pretrial Facility since she was arrested March 26 by Kenai police.

She is accused of forging checks totaling $154,206.77 from Salamatof, M & P Trucking and BAS Leasing. The forgeries allegedly occurred between January 2002 and March 26 this year. On Wednesday, assistant district attorney Jean Seaton told the court the investigation is continuing and the theft amount is rising.

In addition to the forgery charges, she has been arraigned on felony counts including first-degree theft, schemes to defraud, evidence tampering and falsifying business records.

If found guilty, Dilley could be sentenced up to 10 years in jail and fined up to $100,000 for each of the Class B felony counts -- the first-degree theft charge and two charges of schemes to defraud -- and up to five years and $50,000 for each of the other Class C felony counts.

Brown approved Kathleen Marquiss of Kenai as the primary third-party custodian. Marquiss said she has known Dilley for 17 years.

“She was married to my son, Michael, and after the divorce, I kept her as my step-daughter,” Marquiss said.

Marquiss, who is retired, said she would have Dilley reside with her and her husband.

Brown also approved Faith Link, Faith Walton and Jerry Stinson as custodians who could step in when Marquiss needs a break from the duty.

Stinson, who said he works at Global Environmental and is the wrestling coach at Kenai Central High School, said he has been Dilley’s significant other for 12 years.

During questioning by Brown, Stinson said he was surprised when he first learned of the charges against Dilley. Seaton told the court Stinson was one of the payees on a check Dilley allegedly wrote for “a couple thousand dollars.”

Stinson said Dilley took care of all the couple’s bill paying and did all the banking.

When asked by Brown if he ever noticed that Dilley had a lot more money than she should have, Stinson said, “No.”

Link, the general manager for Stanley Motors in Soldotna, said she has known Dilley for 14 years.

“She’s like my own sister,” Link said.

When asked by Seaton how she would manage being the third-party custodian while working full time at the car dealership, Link said she originally spoke with Dilley about coming to work with her, but Link said, “My boss said it would be a challenge.” She said she would be available when Marquiss and Stinson are not.

Before setting the terms of bail, Brown asked if any of the allegedly stolen money has been recovered.

“Not to my knowledge,” said Seaton.

Beyond the crimes charged, Brown said he suspects “some unresolved psychological problem going on here.”

He set the bail amounts, approved all four third-party custodian candidates and ordered that Dilley not have any direct or indirect contact with any of the victims or their employees, not have any access to checks or credit cards, not have more than $100 in cash at any time, make no phone calls other than to her attorney and not depart Alaska without written permission from the court.

During Dilley’s arraignment hearing earlier, the district attorney described her as a flight risk and said her mother resides in Nevada.

Dilley’s trial is scheduled for the week of July 7.

Phil Hermanek can be reached at phillip.hermanek@peninsulaclarion.com.



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