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Santa Barbara police arrest civilian employee in their department

Karen Flores, supervisor of the department business office, is charged with grand theft and held on $250,000 bail.

August 06, 2011|By Steve Chawkins, Los Angeles Times

One of the Santa Barbara Police Department's top civilian employees was arrested on suspicion of embezzling more than $100,000 in parking ticket revenue over several years, the department said Friday.

Karen Flores, supervisor of the department's business office, was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of grand theft and held on $250,000 bail, according to a department spokesman. She was placed on unpaid administrative leave.

Investigators started examining the department's business practices about seven months ago, when officials from the city's finance department uncovered inconsistencies in records related to parking citation fees.

"Over time a pattern of diverting funds from the parking citation system into the private account of Karen Flores was discovered," according to a statement from the department.

Flores admitted to stealing at least $100,000, the statement said, but the exact size of the theft is not yet known.

She has been a Police Department employee for 22 years, including 15 years as head of the business office.

steve.chawkins@latimes.com

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