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Police say Aspen office manager stole $660k from doctor’s office, hid it with fake Quick Books reports

October 3, 2017

Jason Auslander/The Aspen Times

The former office manager and sister of one of the doctors at a women’s care clinic at Aspen Valley Hospital has been charged with stealing more than $660,000 from the business, according to court documents.

Shannon Nagle, 51, admitted to an Aspen police investigator that she’d been stealing from All Valley Women’s Care since she became the office manager in 2010, according to an affidavit filed in Pitkin County District Court.

However, she is charged only with the thefts she allegedly committed between July 2015 and December 2016, when former Aspen police Detective Jeff Fain determined she stole $663,000 from the business, the affidavit states. Nagle is the older sister of Dr. Melinda Nagle, one of two partners who own All Valley Women’s Care, according to the document.

Shannon Nagle cited “anger and resentment” toward her sister as well as health issues and “all sorts of justifications” for the theft in an interview with Fain, the affidavit states.

Phone messages left Monday for Melinda Nagle, Shannon Nagle and All Valley Women’s Care were not returned. Dave Ressler, Aspen Valley Hospital CEO, said Monday he knew about the situation but because the clinic operates separately and didn’t have a financial impact on the hospital, he declined to comment.

Shannon Nagle is facing one count of felony theft and one count of committing felony computer crimes. She turned herself in to authorities in Jefferson County last week, according to court records.

Aspen police were first notified of the case in December, when Melinda Nagle’s business partner — another doctor at the clinic — reported that a preliminary review of the business’ financial records indicated Shannon Nagle had stolen around $500,000, according to the affidavit.

After an accounting firm took a closer look at the records, investigators and the business owners learned that Nagle allegedly used four credit cards issued to All Valley Women’s Care to purchase clothing online as well as other items from Amazon and Petco, the affidavit states.

“Additionally, airplane flights and in-flight charges were purchased using the card, along with lengthy expensive hotel stays and various vacation charges,” according to the affidavit written by Fain, now an investigator with the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. “Also noted were charges for plastic surgery and cosmetics.

“Lastly, many personal charges (were made), such as car repair, car registration, gas, music, horse boarding, various saddles and accessories for horses and other pets and miscellaneous grocery shopping, etc.”

The credit cards at times ran balances of as much as $70,000, which exceeded the credit limits, the affidavit states. Sometimes Nagle allegedly paid late or didn’t pay at all, which led to “rather exorbitant” interest rates and fees that accrued monthly and “would range in the hundreds of dollars up to the thousands,” according to the court document.

The office’s financials were tracked by a QuickBooks accounting software account that allowed Shannon Nagle to hide the money coming out the office’s bank account as medical or office supplies, the affidavit states.

The reason Shannon Nagle’s activities were allowed to continue without anyone from the office knowing is because Melinda Nagle and her business partner only saw the QuickBooks reports, according to the document.

“The entirety of the fraudulent charges were contained within the various credit card statements, which no one else had access to,” Fain wrote in the affidavit.

Shannon Nagle also had another credit card issued in her name that she used the business account to pay for. In addition, she wrote herself 40 checks between July 2015 and December 2016 totaling $69,647 from the business account, the affidavit states.

Shannon Nagle’s salary was $110,000 a year, the affidavit states.

Melinda Nagle was able to recoup some of the money allegedly stolen by her sister by selling an employee housing unit in Woody Creek she co-owned with her sister, according to the court documents. She also returned $42,000 worth of unopened clothing and received a $25,000 insurance payment after filing a claim for employee theft, the affidavit states.

In June, Shannon Nagle told police that her anger and resentment toward her sister — which was rooted in shared real estate transactions — drove her in 2010 to begin buying groceries and small things. Then in 2014 she came down with an eating disorder and other health issues that prompted her to begin “binge shopping,” according to the affidavit.

In addition, one of her daughters began “doing really well with horse riding,” so she began paying for those expenses with clinic credit cards.

By summer 2016, Shannon Nagle said “she had ‘all sorts of justifications’ for what she was doing and was ‘angry and in denial which was a bad combo,’” the affidavit states.

“She felt unappreciated at work, wasn’t getting raises while other employees were and felt that (Melinda) Nagle and (her business partner) believed she wasn’t worth her salary,” according to Fain’s affidavit.