Woman held in embezzlement from card firm

A 37-year-old woman accused of embezzling $61,158.76 from Petroleum Card Services of Gardnerville, was granted house arrest Friday and ordered to appear in court April 11 with $5,000 cash bail.

Until then, Laura Kelly was ordered to stay out of casinos or any place with video poker machines including gas stations and convenience stores.

Kelly was arrested March 7 on a charge of grand larceny following a lengthy investigation. She was expected to be released today (Sunday) from Douglas County Jail where she had been held on $25,000 bail.

According to Douglas County sheriff's investigators, Kelly was employed for two years as a customer service representative at Petroleum Card Services.

The company works with First Data Bank to process credit card transactions and merchant accounts for gas stations nationwide.

Kelly reportedly had access to a database of secured merchant account information and used that information to embezzle the money from June through November 2006, according to court documents.

Her lawyer, William Routsis, said his client "had a severe poker problem."

"I seem to want to ask you how you could go through $61,158.76 in such a short time, but I'm not going to," said Justice Jim EnEarl.

He asked her how she would be able to make restitution if convicted.

"If it's going to be, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it," Routsis said.

A search of her husband Shawn Kelly's birthdate and Social Security number turned up a long list of arrests in California. But Shawn Kelly, who was present for his wife's arraignment, denied the allegation.

Investigators ran a new search Friday which revealed that Shawn Kelly was the victim of an identity theft.

EnEarl told Laura Kelly to bring the bail on April 11.

"If I have to sell everything I own, I will, your honor," she said.


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