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Embezzlement, Forgery Charges

A 23-year-old Centreville woman is facing more than 40 years in prison after being arrested and charged with five financial crimes. She is Wendy Rae Hunt of 14223 St. Germain Drive, No. 104.

Fairfax County police believe that she embezzled money from her employer, Creative World Learning Center, at 6715 Little River Turnpike in Annandale. In an Oct. 9 affidavit for a search warrant for Hunt's Centreville apartment, Det. Ronald Manzo, of the Franconia District Station's Criminal Investigation Section, detailed the case against her.

POLICE RESPONDED to Creative World Learning Center, on Sept. 22, for a report of a grand larceny. The company's owner, Michele Tyler, reported that $50 in cash and two televisions were missing. She also told police that the money was kept in the office behind a locked door in a desk drawer.

"Further investigation revealed that only Mrs. Tyler and another employee, Wendy Hunt, were in possession of the only keys that unlock the office door," wrote Manzo. "Furthermore, while conducting an internal investigation, Mrs. Tyler found check numbers 0259, 0260, 0271, 0272 and 0273 missing from the company check books for [the company's] bank account, along with several cash and check deposits made to the company that were never deposited into the company's bank account."

Hunt has been employed by Creative World Learning Center since August and was in charge of making deposits. According to the detective, she "took said deposits to the bank on the dates they were not deposited. This was confirmed by [Manzo] who placed a video surveillance system in the office on Sept. 27 and has since taped Wendy Hunt taking the daily company deposits with her to deposit them at the bank."

Manzo wrote that Tyler contacted him, Oct. 6, to tell him that check numbers 0259 and 0260 from the company bank account were returned to her from the bank. "She further stated that both checks were made to pay to the order of Wendy Hunt," wrote the detective. "Check number 0259 was cashed on Sept. 12 for the amount of $75 with the [allegedly] forged signature of the company's director, Brandy L. Lee."

IN ADDITION, wrote Manzo, "Check number 0260 was cashed on Sept. 12 for the amount of $50, again with the [allegedly] forged signature of Lee. Furthermore, check number 0260 displayed a handwritten phone number in the upper left-hand corner of the check, which was confirmed through company records to be the home phone of Wendy Hunt's parents."

The detective noted, as well, that the handwriting on the checks — including Hunt's endorsement signature — reportedly matches Hunt's handwriting and signature on official company documents. He then requested a warrant to search her home for possible records and documents of such transactions that could be used as evidence against her in a court of law.

Police executed the warrant, Oct. 10, seizing 10 store receipts, as well as deposit slips from Wachovia Bank showing a $105 deposit on Oct. 2, a $901 deposit on Sept. 26 and another deposit on Oct. 2 in the amount of $2,975. Police arrested Hunt, the same day as the search — Oct. 10 — charging her with one count of embezzlement and two counts each of forgery and uttering (passing) forged checks.

She was held on $10,000 bond in the Adult Detention Center and has a Dec. 8 court date. Each count of forgery and uttering forged checks is punishable by as much as 10 years in prison.