CWC theft case expands - Bonner County Daily Bee: Local News

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CWC theft case expands

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Posted: Wednesday, February 2, 2011 10:00 am

SANDPOINT — A former Coldwater Creek employee accused of running up thousands of dollars in unauthorized charges on a company account is also accused of defrauding the Panhandle Alliance For Education.

A hearing to determine if there’s enough evidence to justify trying Susan Alene Hopkins, also known as Susan Scott, on two counts of grand theft was set for today, but is now on hold until March.

Bonner County Deputy Prosecutor Larry Goins and Hopkins’ defense counsel, Michael Palmer, moved jointly to continue the preliminary hearing so the two sides can try and resolve the matter through a plea agreement.

Judge Justin Julian granted the stipulated motion, which followed the filing of an amended complaint alleging Hopkins misappropriated more than $1,000 from PAFE, an organization which promotes education and community support for the Lake Pend Oreille School District.

Hopkins, a former assistant to a Coldwater Creek executive, was initially accused of making as much as $260,000 in unauthorized charges on a company credit card. The amended complaint involving the alleged fleecing of PAFE was filed on Jan. 12.

Coldwater Creek is an ardent supporter of PAFE and has hosted charity golf tournaments to raise funds for the group. Hopkins was not an employee of PAFE and held no position within the group.

“During the course and scope of Hopkins’ employment for Coldwater Creek, she used her position to steal from Panhandle Alliance,” Goins said on Tuesday. “We believe there was in excess of $15,000 that was taken from PAFE.”

Marcia Wilson, executive director of PAFE, said the organization is cooperating with authorities and had no comment on the matter.

“We’re just going to let the process do its work,” Wilson said of the criminal proceedings.

The thefts from Coldwater Creek occurred from 2006 to 2010, the complaint said. The thefts from PAFE allegedly took place between 2008 and 2010.

Hopkins, 53, is accused of using a Coldwater Creek expense account to purchase home electronics, a wedding ring, airfare, tickets to sporting events, and other items, according to court documents.

Hopkins is free on her own recognizance while the case is pending.

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  • ms83864 posted at 12:42 pm on Thu, Feb 3, 2011.

    ms83864 Posts: 23

    I wonder if this is the reason Georgia Shonk Simmons is retiring / stepping down?

  • Clark Fork Local posted at 9:48 pm on Wed, Feb 2, 2011.

    Clark Fork Local Posts: 41

    I agree, Georgia needs to be held accountable!!! and that will never happen. CWC has no back bone and NO real leadership. Like I posted before, My wife worked at CWC for a number of years and talk about a bunch of ungrateful backstabbing people they have running that company. They have NO idea what is going on around them or NO real leadership and that has been proven over the years. Maybe they need to take better care of their employee's that run their company then trying to get more bank loans for a bigger business they can't handle, or all those retail outlets that flopped and put good people out of work.

  • radar9 posted at 2:30 pm on Wed, Feb 2, 2011.

    radar9 Posts: 19

    i still can't see why Georgia is not being investigated at least as an accomplice. SHE HAD TO SIGN OFF ON EVERY PENNY OF THE $260,00.00 (which is $65,000.00 a yr. over the time span reported... a yearly salary for an employee).
    Now this scum is RIPPING off a great organization for the need of education. I hope they make her pay EVERY penny back and send this low life to 25 yrs in the slammer.
    I know this employee and was SCHOCKED when I read the first story and now THIS. I'm still trying to get my head around it. I will say that this is just ANOTHER Prime Example of the INCOMPETENT Management @CWC.
    Georgia should have to held accountable for part of the amount, but we know that will not happen.
    Oh well. Oh yea, Georgia is the front person for PAFE which I applaud her for giving her time and focus on, but
    she is still the one who si accountable for the funds collected for the annual Golf tournament.
    Can anyone see why CWC is in the shape it is in?!?!?