Crime

She worked at the public cemetery for over 20 years. Then she stole from it, police say

Dona Shores, 63, of Visalia, was arrested for alleged embezzlement from the Visalia Public Cemetery District.
Dona Shores, 63, of Visalia, was arrested for alleged embezzlement from the Visalia Public Cemetery District.

Visalia police on Friday arrested the former cemetery district manager following a lengthy investigation into possible embezzlement.

Police were notified in October 2016 after the Visalia Public Cemetery District board fired Dona Shores, who worked for the district for more than 20 years.

The annual audit for the 2015-16 fiscal year ending June 30 showed cash revenues totaling $339,170.27 were received and documented, but were never deposited, said lawyer Kris Pedersen of Visalia, who served as district legal counsel.

“The board of trustees was devastated at the discovery of the financial loss to this public cemetery,” a district statement said at the time of the discovery. “Notwithstanding the loss, the district remains financially stable.”

The police department began investigating and found that from 2012 to 2016, $1.2 million was embezzled.

Detectives with the property crimes division arrested Shores, 63, at her residence on Friday for alleged embezzlement, police said in a news release.

The cemetery district released a statement Friday saying the board will pursue an insurance claim to recover the money.

“The Visalia Public Cemetery District remains committed to providing members of the public with quality burial services with the respect and care every member of this community deserves,” the statement said.

Anyone with additional information is asked to contact Visalia police Detective Blake McEwen at 559-713-4101.

Brianna Calix: 559-441-6166, @BriannaCalix

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