On Wednesday March 23, 2010 at 8:30 in the morning, accounting manager Michelle Leigh Irving of Knoxville, Iowa was charged and arrested for theft in the first degree. This charge is a class C felony offense that carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison. Irving was a Knoxville Raceway employee that was investigated for embezzling funds from the raceway’s bank account. The investigation showed that Irving had misappropriated funds totaling $98,000 from the Marion County Fair Association.
Irving and her attorney Richard Phelps went before Judge Wilson at the Marion County Sheriff’s Office where she waived a preliminary hearing and was released until further arraignment. According to the Sheriff handling the case, “Irving has cooperated fully with the investigation, expressed regret and admitted to the theft.” Sheriff Ron Goemaat also added that” there was no evidence that anyone else was involved. It appears as an isolated incident.”
The investigation turned up cancelled checks and bank information showing the Irving had written herself checks from the Raceway for a period starting from January of 2007. A search of court records shows that Irving has no prior criminal history. The Sheriff’s office is continuing the investigation and is awaiting information from other financial documents, computer analysis and the audit report.
Knoxville Raceway Director of Racing Ralph Capitani says “it’s a bad situation to be in, we are a small firm that trusts our employees and that obviously no longer works”. Capitani also stated that the raceway will be looking into to changes to prevent further financial issues but what those changes will be has not been determined.