Newton Kansan

Harvey County Attorney David Yoder will file 12 new criminal charges today against Kayla Tillery, a former Newton Area Chamber of Commerce employee who allegedly made off with more than $25,000 in Chamber Bucks and used a chamber credit card to pay personal bills.

Yoder said he will file 12 new charges today all felonies.

The first 11 charges are for felony theft. Tillery allegedly charged 11 charges to a chamber credit card ranging from $15 to $300. The charges reached felony level due to Tillery having previous convictions of theft.

The final charge to be filed today will be unlawful use of a computer.

"Allegedly she set an automatic payment on the chamber credit card for her electric bill," Yoder said. "Two of those payees came out after she was fired from the chamber."

Lt. Eric Murphy said earlier this week the chamber reported charges found on credit card statements that were "not appropriate business charges."

Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for today; however, Yoder said that will likely be postponed. Tillery declined a court appointed attorney; no one has come forward yet to defend her.

A former employee of the Newton Area Chamber of Commerce, Tillery, 43, of Newton made off with about $25,000 in "Newton Bucks," according to the Harvey County Attorney's office.

She was charged with forgery of $5,500 of the Newton Bucks checks and theft of $25,000 from the Newton Bucks program following her arrest.

Tillery allegedly printed off the Newton bucks, forged signatures to make them usable and handed them out to family and friends without collecting money.

According to county attorney David Yoder, no other chamber employee is suspected in the case.

Yoder said Tillery could face between seven and 23 months in prison and up to a $100,000 fine for forgery. She could also face between 11 and 34 months in prison and a $100,000 fine for theft.

According to the Kansas Department of Corrections website authorities released Tillery in 2008 after she served time on multiple convictions for writing bad checks, forgery and theft. Tillery also served five years in for crimes committed in Maricopa County, Ariz. She was charged in 1994 for fraud.

She was hired by the chamber in Nov. of 2012. According to Yoder, she was hired after she was assigned as a temporary worker by an independent firm.