Stolen Rangely chamber money returned; charges still pending

RANGELY I Last week, the Rangely Area Chamber of Commerce released a statement regarding the theft of more than $30,000 that had occurred earlier in the spring. The statement, in part, confirms that full restitution of the funds has been made.

The statement, which went out to Rangely Chamber of Commerce members, states “The Chamber Board wishes to let our members and the public know that any and all misappropriated funds have been returned to the Chamber, and are being used for their intended purposes; nevertheless, we fully recognize the seriousness of the situation, and the need for proactive prevention.”
Earlier in June, Kristin Steele, the former executive director of the chamber, was charged with two Class 4 felonies regarding the theft of those funds.
At that time, District Attorney Sherry Caloia of the 9th Judicial District, stated that her office would consider lessening the charges if full restitution was made.
In response to the news that restitution had occurred, Caloia was unwilling to go into specifics regarding a plea deal, but did say “The payment of all restitution is a good thing and we will make a plea offer consistent with her paying everything off. We take that into account.”
The statement from the Rangely Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors also describes steps that are being taken to protect funds in the future.
“To that end, your chamber has taken concrete steps to ensure that such an incident will never again take place within our organization. We are working diligently with Colorado CPA to design and implement written policy and procedures to limit the chamber’s exposure to additional fraud in the future.
“It’s the chamber’s belief that trust is maintained through well-designed systems and procedures,” the statement continued. “The chamber will implement these new procedures and move forward to serve as the voice of local business in community affairs while recognizing that a healthy community is a requirement for a healthy business climate.”