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Ex-worker at Mountaineer accused of embezzlement

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Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011
 

A former bookkeeper at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort is accused of embezzling $1.2 million from the Horseman's Purse Account and using part of the proceeds on her home in Virginia.

Anita Ambler, also known as Anita Webb, 48, of Reva, Va., is charged with 21 counts of mail fraud, 15 counts of wire fraud and six counts of using criminal proceeds for a transaction, U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld said in announcing the indictment on Monday in West Virginia.

Ambler, who managed and controlled a bank account identified as the Horseman's Purse Account, was arrested Friday and was represented by a public defender in her initial appearance before a federal magistrate in Virginia. She remains free on $20,000 unsecured bond to await a preliminary hearing on Dec. 22 in Wheeling.

The Horseman's account includes funds deposited by horsemen as well as proceeds from race winnings, also known as the purse, from Mountaineer's thoroughbred track near Chester.

Ambler is accused of using forged checks and false deposits to hide the thefts, which occurred from March 2005 until she quit her job in August 2010, the indictment states.

The indictment also accuses her of issuing checks in the name of family members and in the name of a business she owned called Forgotten Farms.

Ambler is accused of covering the thefts by making false entries in Mountaineer's Internet-based accounting system.

Ihlenfeld said the thefts weren't discovered until an audit was conducted after Ambler left the job. He said the FBI is trying to determine whether anyone else benefited from the scheme.

Prosecutors believe Ambler used about $200,000 of the stolen funds on her home and 5 acres of land in the community of Reva, about 80 miles southwest of Washington.

Ihlenfeld is seeking forfeiture of the house and property as well as the cash.

A spokesman for the casino, which is owned by MTR Gaming Group, Inc., could not be reached for comment.

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