Former Kern County Law librarian under investigation for allegedly embezzling thousands in library funds, reports say

Crime Watch

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The woman formerly in charge of the Kern County Law Library may soon be in need of the books that were previously under her care.

Former Law Librarian Annette Heath allegedly embezzled tens of thousands of dollars in library funds over a six-year period, according to documents filed by a District Attorney’s office investigator who examined financial records and interviewed Heath and others.

Heath, 57, has not been charged with a crime. The District Attorney’s office on Wednesday confirmed an investigation was ongoing but said it could provide no further comment.

During an Aug. 5 interview, Heath admitted taking library funds for personal use, court documents say. She told the investigator she sometimes deposited the money into her husband’s bank account.

The investigation found $7,867.50 was taken to rent vehicles for Heath’s family members, and $42,881.31 was used to pay herself more than once during a pay period. A total of $17,683.67 was written out to herself using law library funds, and $21,917.94 were cash withdrawals, the court filings say.

Reached by phone Wednesday, Heath declined comment. She worked at the law library for roughly 25 years, and had overseen payroll, petty cash and other related expenses. She also had sole access to the library’s accounts at Chase Bank.

Heath retired earlier this year.

In late March, the sheriff’s office submitted a case against Heath on allegations of practicing law without a license and possible timesheet fraud. The DA’s office rejected that case due to insufficient evidence but has since compiled additional information against her, according to the documents.

Superior Court Judge David Lampe, board president of the law library, told the DA’s investigator he requested financial documents from Heath in 2019 and discovered she had made thousands of dollars in unauthorized payments, the filings say. Those included $24,000 in transactions made through a PayPal account and an unknown amount made to a Hulu account.

The law library does not have a Hulu account, Lampe told the investigator.

The judge discovered a total loss of $160,000 to the law library fund in 2019, and that Heath had closed the library’s Chase account in early 2020 without board approval, documents say. Additionally, an examination of payroll records found Heath in 2018 put down 456 hours of time which she never worked, according to the filings.

While no longer in Kern, Heath has found work in a familiar environment. She is the interim library director at Yolo County Law Library.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Latest News

More Local News