AUSTIN (KXAN) - Police have arrested a 55-year-old woman accused of stealing nearly $50,000 from a local charity branch.
Lisa Dorhauer's arrest came Monday when Williamson County deputies nabbed her in Cedar Park. She has since posted the $15,000 bond to be released from jail.
Lutheran Social Services of the South President Betsy Guthrie said Dorhauer stole thousands of dollars throughout a two-year span while working as an administrative assistant and paralegal for the charity nonprofit organization.
"She was filing expense reports that were not legit based on travel," said Guthrie, who hopes the stolen money will be paid back in restitution.
An indictment alleges Dorhauer stole money from May 2008 to April 2010, nearly the entire tenure of her employment. She was fired when the fraud was uncovered.
The charity -- which provides services for children, the elderly and victims of disaster -- has an annual operating budget of $100 million.
"It was a $50,000 theft, give or take, so does it threaten the financial health of the agency? Absolutely not - but it's still theft. It's still wrong the money didn't belong to her. That money would have gone toward helping those we serve," said spokesman Scott Carroll.
The ex-charity worker also has previous thefts on her record.
In 1999, Dorhauer also pleaded no contest to misdemeanor theft after money was discovered missing from the Challenger Program at Round Rock Little League. Dorhauer was on the Board of Directors and was responsible for the money for the program that helps disabled children participate in baseball.
Dorhauer served two years probation on the charge and was ordered not to be involved with nonprofit organizations during that time as a condition of her probation, according to Williamson County court documents.
She also pleaded guilty in 1994 to theft by check. Court documents show she paid restitution in both cases and successfully completed her probation. The deferred sentences resulted in no convictions on her record.
Guthrie says changes in the hiring system have been made as a result of the theft.
"We began to look at the systems we had and how we process background checks," said Guthrie. "We feel that we have plugged the gaps."
Although the indictment and subsequent arrest warrant were filed in November, that warrant was never served. The nearly eight-month wait has been difficult, according to Guthrie.
"It took many months, many phone calls, and many follow-ups. We called multiple times to ask when it would be served and were told there was no time line," he said.
Travis County sheriff's officials said attempts to find Dorhauer at her listed Williamson County addresses were unsuccessful and with 65,000 outstanding warrants on file, sometimes arresting a suspect can be a waiting game.
"We want to get the dangerous criminal elements off the street as quickly as we can," said Sheriff's Office spokesman Roger Wade. "We are frustrated to. We want to catch everyone and get them into the system as quickly as possible."
Wade said warrants are prioritized by felonies and misdemeanors, but dangerous or high-profile suspects carry more urgency.
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