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Office assistant arrested on charges of grand theft, forgery

STANFORD -- The Stanford Police Department on Wednesday, May 26, announced the arrest of a recently fired physics department office assistant on felony charges of grand theft and forgery.

Capt. Raoul Niemeyer said Earceal Dorris Scott, 46, of San Jose, was arrested at her home following an investigation that began in March 1993. She is charged with embezzling at least $75,000 in university money through false reimbursements for travel and supplies.

The investigation covers the period from May 1991 through March 1993.

Niemeyer said the woman had successfully forged the signatures of a number of faculty members and graduate students in the physics department, and regularly booked out-of- town trips for them, which they never took.

Using forged "delegation-of-financial-authority" forms, it is alleged in the felony complaint, Scott would book the trips and bill them to departmental accounts. When the airline tickets were issued by American Express, she would return them for a refund.

She also allegedly had American Express travelers' checks issued for the phony trips and deposited them in her personal accounts at the Stanford Federal Credit Union and at a commercial bank in Fremont.

Using search warrants for her home, the credit union, bank and campus American Express branch, investigators traced $8,200 worth of the travelers' checks, Niemeyer said. Another $9,900 worth of travelers' checks are still being traced, he said.

The rest of the theft was in the form of reimbursements for phony travel expenses and office supplies that were never actually purchased by the department, he said.

The investigation began when the American Express office contacted the university Office of Travel and Reimbursement to report suspicious activity on the account related to its attempt to collect airline-imposed penalties for the ticket returns, Niemeyer said.

Scott was arrested Tuesday, May 25, on a $75,000 warrant and booked on felony charges of grand theft and forgery. She was placed on administrative leave in March shortly after the investigation began, and was fired later that month.

Scott is being held at the Elmwood Women's Detention Center in Milpitas and is expected to be arraigned in North [Santa Clara] County Courthouse, Palo Alto.



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