The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

December 13, 2013

Police: Athens woman charged with theft allegedly spent money on ‘lifestyle’

An Athens woman and her colleague are believed to have stolen more than $1 million from a Madison human resources firm during the six years they worked there, a Madison Police sergeant said this week.

While a three-year statute of limitations on theft prevents authorities from charging the women on much of the total, officials can pursue what may have been stolen in the past three years.

Dianne Pollak Johnson, 45, of Athens, and Toi Monza Batts Garth, 41, of Madison, are each facing charges of first-degree theft of property in connection with the alleged theft at FPMI, a company that does human resources training and consulting, Sgt. Drew Westrope said.

“We believe they stole a combined total of a little over a million over a six-year period, basically by falsifying documents and records,” Westrope said. “They used the money to support their lifestyles — trips, clothes, cars and houses.”

FPMI brought the matter to police after finding discrepancies in its finances, Westrope said.

“They found some irregularities and they started looking into it,” he said.

After determining there was a problem, FPMI hired an accounting firm to do a forensic audit, which implicated Johnson and Garth, Westrope said.

They turned themselves in to Madison Police Wednesday and were released after posting $30,000 bond each, records show.

Preliminary hearings will be set for both, at which time a judge will decide if the case should be heard by a grand jury.

Johnson and Garth, who began working at FPMI about the same time, now work for another company, Westrope said.


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