Former budgets employee charged with embezzlement, nonsufficient funds checks from CMU groups
A former Central Michigan University employee has been charged with embezzlement, false pretenses and non-sufficient funds checks, including one complaint from CMU workers.
Amber R. Loomis, former employee of the university, pleaded not guilty to a charge of embezzlement of between $1,000-$20,000 on Aug. 14. She also later pleaded not guilty on a charge of false pretenses equaling $1,000 but less than $20,000 and four counts of non-sufficient funds checks of more than $500 or more. Loomis has been charged with false pretenses after selling a washing and dryer that was not fully paid off.
During her time at CMU she was employed in the Office of Financial Planning and Budgets, was a fixed-term faculty member in the College of Business Administration and also worked myriad other rolls around the university.
Loomis, 35, is no longer listed as a CMU employee.
Embezzlement — CMU Mortar Board
Loomis has been charged with embezzling more than $2,000 from CMU Mortar Board. She was booked and arraigned Aug. 14. A probable cause hearing was set for Aug. 24 and a preliminary exam is scheduled for Aug. 31.
Detective Jair Kollasch of the CMU Police Department said his department received information July 7 from the Isabella County Credit Union about a check transaction they were concerned might involve fraud, according to the probable cause section of an affidavit in support of complaint for warrant filed by Kollasch.
Linda Sears, an employee of the credit union, told Kollasch one of their business accounts cashed a check using the mobile deposit feature on June 27. The name the check was written to didn’t match the name of the business account in which it was cashed.
The check was written to CMU Mortar Board from Commencement Flowers and was later determined to be deposited by Loomis into a commercial account for Newks LLC, according to the affidavit. CMU Mortar Board is a registered student organization and chapter of the Mortar Board — a National Honor Society for colleges.
Vanessa Waldron, a CMU senior and president of the Mortar Board, advised Kollasch the check from the incident was written on May 10 for $2,413 and is the organization’s commission check from the Spring 2017 commencement ceremony. Waldron said the check should have been deposited into the organization’s account at Isabella Bank or given to her.
Loomis served as the group’s staff advisor prior to departing from CMU on May 5, the affidavit states.
Loomis deposited the check June 27 and then wrote a check to Dylan Hohlbein for $2,000 that was cashed on June 28, according to the affidavit. Hohlbein said he returned the money to Loomis and it was used to pay salaries to employees from a restaurant she had ownership of that recently closed.
According to Loomis’ LinkedIn profile, she owned Newcombe’s Family Restaurant since December 2009. The Morning Sun reported in June that the Lake Isabella establishment was closed.
False pretenses/NSF Checks — CMU
Loomis pleaded not guilty on a charge of false pretenses equaling $1,000 but less than $20,000 and four counts of non-sufficient funds checks of more than $500 or more. She is due back in court for a probable cause hearing Aug. 31 and a preliminary exam Sept. 7.
On Aug. 15, the day after Loomis’ arraignment for embezzlement, Kollasch met with Karmen Grondin, collections manager of the Student Service Court and Student Account Services and University Billing. The two met after a complaint was filed by Daniel Odykirk, manager of the Student Service Court, according to an affidavit.
Grondin and Odykirk said Loomis was employed at SSC/SASUB director prior to being promoted to the accounting office a few years ago, according to the affidavit. Grondin said that it “gave her a proprietary knowledge of how the billing system online worked and a way to use the system to gain money through an overpayment payout prior to the payment method clearing the system,” the affidavit states.
After a payment made at 8:08 p.m. Aug. 8, the system released the overages of her account the next day automatically, the affidavit states. Grondin said Loomis would know these internal policies in the system. Grondin provided documents regarding Loomis to police. She said Loomis had paid off past due fees on her CMU account using eChecks, many of which had been returned for declined transaction or insufficient funds.
Loomis’ account balance had $2,550 that was owed to CMU, according to the affidavit. According to the CMU Alumni Directory, Loomis is a 2006 graduate of CBA.
Grondin said Loomis on several occasions would make a bad check payment to CMU to remove a hold and create a surplus of money to the account, according to the affidavit.
CMU had a total cash out loss of $1,080.41 that was refunded to Loomis before the check was declined, the affidavit said.
All of the returned eCheck payments made by Loomis are as follows:
- 8/8 — $2,000 payment rejected from Isabella County Credit Union (Account No. ending in 4)
- 8/7 — $500 payment rejected from ICCU (Account No. ending in 4)
- 5/17 — $2,800 insufficient funds from ICCU (Account No. ending in 0701)
- 5/11 — $2,883.60 insufficient funds from ICCU (Account No. ending in 0706)
False pretenses — Outside of CMU
Loomis also pleaded not guilty on Aug. 14 to a charge of false pretenses between $200-$1,000 in an incident handled by the Mount Pleasant Police Department.
According to an affidavit, Lisa Schneider on Aug. 3 reported she purchased a water and dryer from Loomis for $250 on July 8. Schneider said about three weeks later, she learned the washer and dryer were being leased by Loomis from the furniture store Aaron’s. They were not completely paid for when Schneider purchased them.
Schneider said she made contact with Aaron’s and was told that Loomis owes $1,507.54 on the washer and dryer, according to the affidavit. Schneider attempted to contact Loomis but she would answer phone calls or return texts.
Aaron’s told Schneider she could purchase the washer and dryer for $1,000 or return them, the affidavit states.
A settlement conference was scheduled for Aug. 23.
Stay with Central Michigan Life for updates on the settlement conference and Loomis' charges.