Former Marmarth auditor embezzled funds from city

By BRYCE MARTIN

Regional Editor

Court documents obtained this week by The Bowman County Pioneer indicated that Marmarth’s former auditor had embezzled funds from the city between August 2013 and March 2015.

Vernice Martin, 67, of Marmarth pleaded guilty in April 2016 to one Class C felony count of misapplication of entrusted property. She was sentenced to five years in state prison, with all five years suspended for a period of two years, and ordered to pay full restitution to the city.

Martin had initially faced four felony charges, including two felony charges of misapplication of entrusted property, and two Class C felony counts of forgery.

It was stated in a criminal complaint filed with Southwest Judicial District Court in Slope County that Martin, while employed as city auditor, had knowingly written an unauthorized check in March 2015 for $15,000 using the city’s bank account.

The check was made payable to the Marmarth Café and Mini Store, which she owned. It was cashed and Martin kept the funds.

Martin was said to have committed the same crime in August 2013 when she wrote a check for $6,500 using the city’s bank account, made payable to herself. Again, she cashed the check and retained the money.

She faced two counts of forgery, both a Class C felony, for knowingly and falsely forging the signature of Marmarth’s mayor, Hailey Dschaak, on each check.

Three of the charges were dismissed through a plea agreement with the court. Per the agreement, Martin pleaded guilty to the lesser felony charge of misapplication of entrusted property.

She was put on supervised probation for two years and had 90 days to pay the full restitution in the amount of $21,500. She was also required to pay $500 in court costs.

Slope County Clerk of Court Marguerite Schatz told The Pioneer on Tuesday that Martin had paid the full restitution later in April.