WEST BURLINGTON — A longtime employee of Deery Brothers in West Burlington has been charged with stealing almost $139,000 from the dealership over an eight-year period.
Jeanna Joan Jones, 42, 408 S. First St., Danville, appeared Friday in Des Moines County District Court on a charge of first-degree theft, a class C felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Jones was released from jail on her own recognizance following her first appearance before Des Moines County District Associate Judge Jennifer Bailey. She told Bailey she would hire her own attorney.
She was arrested by sheriff's deputies at her Danville residence about 8 p.m. Thursday and spent the night in the county jail, according to Des Moines County District Court records.
In court documents, prosecutors accused Jones of overpaying commissions to a 70-year-old sales associate at Deery Brothers.
The name of the sales associate has not been released, pending his arrest. Authorities said Tuesday a warrant has been issued for her co-worker in connection with the alleged thefts.
District court records indicate Deery Brothers' management conducted an internal audit of its business in the spring 2016. During the internal audit, employees discovered discrepancies in its accounting practices involving two employees. At that point, Deery Brothers employed a certified public accounting firm to conduct a more extensive audit.
"On June 1, 2016, West Burlington detectives responded to 200 S. Gear (Deery Brothers) on a report of an internal theft," court records state. "Deery Brothers and the accounting firm advised detectives they discovered that a sales associate (the 70-year-old man) had consistently been overpaid commission on sales from January 2008 through 2016."
Court documents indicate Jones paid the sales associate "extra commission on each fraudulent transaction."
The accounting firm informed Deery Brothers' management the total amount of money overpaid to the sales associate during the eight-year period was $138,827."
No other sales associate at Deery Brothers was involved in the alleged scam, authorities said.
"The accounting firm advised (West Burlington) detectives its extensive audit determined that all other sales associates ... were always paid the correct commission on every sale," court records state. "Detectives interviewed both Jones and (the sales associate) who each denied any wrongdoing and could not provide an explanation for the overpaid commissions."
Following additional investigation by detectives and a comprehensive review of the accounting firm's audit, arrests warrants were issued for Jones and the man.
When contacted Tuesday, Brad Deery, owner of a network of car dealerships across eastern Iowa, said he thought it best "not to comment on (the charges) at this time."
He said Jones and the sales associate no longer work for him.
Jones' specific job description at Deery Brothers was not contained in court records.