Northern Wyoming Daily News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Karla Pomeroy
Editor 

Allegations of fraudulently taking nearly $100k

WORLAND — A 36-year-old Greybull woman charged with fraudulently taking nearly $100,000 from the town and chamber appeared in Basin before Fifth Judicial District Circuit Court Judge Thomas Harrington Wednesday morning.

 

November 9, 2017



WORLAND — A 36-year-old Greybull woman charged with fraudulently taking nearly $100,000 from the town and chamber appeared in Basin before Fifth Judicial District Circuit Court Judge Thomas Harrington Wednesday morning.

Danielle Chapman aka Danielle Lampman, former town clerk and Basin Area Chamber of Commerce treasurer has been charged with two felony fraud counts and one misdemeanor count for official misconduct for allegedly, during a nearly two-year long scheme, fraudulently taking nearly $100,000 from the Town of Basin and Basin Area Chamber of Commerce.

According to the court documents, “On or between April 14, 2014, and Nov. 23, 2016, in Big Horn County, did knowingly take or exercise unauthorized control over or make an unauthorized transfer of an interest in the property of another person with the purpose of depriving the other person of the property, pursuant to a common scheme and aggregated.” The value of the property was $20,410.78 from the Basin Area Chamber of Commerce.

For the second count, Chapman is alleged to have “on or between Nov. 2, 2015, and Aug. 31, 2016, in Big Horn County, Wyoming, did knowingly take or exercise unauthorized control over or make an unauthorized transfer of an interest in the property of another person with the purpose of depriving the other person of the property, pursuant to a common scheme and aggregated.” Chapman is alleged to have taken or exercised unauthorized control over $78,000 from the Town of Basin.

Both counts have penalties of imprisonment of not more than 10 years and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

The third count stems from the fact that Chapman, during the times of the alleged larcenies, was employed by the Town of Basin as the town clerk and treasurer and was the treasurer for the Basin Area Chamber of Commerce. She was hired by the town in June 2011, according to court records, and elected treasurer of the chamber, also in 2011 through December 2016. The misdemeanor is punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000.

According to court records the investigation stemmed from an anonymous letter Security State Bank received on Sept. 21, 2016, stating the anonymous letter writer’s suspicions regarding possible siphoning of money from the town.

SSB reviewed the activity on the town’s accounts and according to court records “discovered suspicious transactions of money transfer to the BACC from the Town of Basin from May 2015 to September 2016.” The bank reported their findings to Basin Mayor Dennis Peters.

Court records also state that the town’s auditor was unable to reconcile the annual audit for fiscal year 2016 after finding “several areas of concern.”

He notified the Wyoming Department of Audit about being unable to reconcile the audit.

One of the concerns was the addition of a line item “economic development” that wasn’t part of the previous budget report.

According to court records, the investigation showed that there were nine transactions of checks from the town of Basin to the chamber totaling $78,000 from Nov. 2, 2015 to Aug. 31, 2016. It is alleged that Chapman returned $18,000 by transferring the funds back to the town of Basin in June 2016.

It is also alleged in court documents that Chapman altered the final town budget after approved on third reading in 2016, adding a line item for economic development in the amount of $22,500, and increased the line item amount for the chamber from $5,000 to $10,000.

According to court documents, “Danielle Chapman was able to use the Basin Area Chamber of Commerce accounts as ‘the vehicle’ in which to remove the $60,000 from the Town of Basin into her personal accounts. In addition to the funds which removed from the [Town of Basin] without authorization over $15,000 additional dollars were removed from the BACC accounts by Danielle Chapman. These funds were [allegedly] removed without the knowledge or approval of the BACC board members.

The court documents allege that from Jan. 1, 2014, until Dec. 31, 2016, “the total amount of money that Danielle Chapman fraudulently withdrew from the Basin Area Chamber of Commerce accounts equals $98,410.78, $78,000 originated from the Town of Basin accounts. The remaining $20,410.78 were BACC funds.

Chapman returned $18,000 to the town and $4,498.50 to the Basin Area Chamber of Commerce.

During the investigation a search and audit was conducted of Chapman’s personal accounts at Big Horn Federal. According to the court documents, “That upon receipt of the account statements and transaction documents provided by Big Horn Federal in compliance with a search warrant, [Basin Chief of Police Chris Kampbell] was able to verity that most of the Town of Basin and Basin Area Chamber of Commerce funds which were removed without authorization were in fact deposited into Danielle Chapman’s personal and business accounts.”

Court records show that in September 2016, Big Horn Federal closed all of Chapman’s accounts due to “their suspicion of fraudulent activity.”

The investigation also included involvement from the Wyoming Division of Audit.

According to court records, “The dollar amounts of the fraudulent activity described in this affidavit have been verified by certified accountants at the Wyoming Division of Audit.

Chapman, which court records show as living in Greybull, was released on a $50,000 signature bond. A preliminary hearing on the two felony charges has been set for 10 a.m. Nov. 22.

 
 

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