West Lawrence Water Co-operative Employee Accused of Stealing $500,000 from Co-op

Laura Dawson (Photo: Lawrence County Jail)

Laura Dawson (Photo: Lawrence County Jail)

LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – The attorney for the Board of Directors of the West Lawrence Water Co-operative reports that former office manager Laura Dawson has been arrested for theft of more than $500,000 from the Co-op.

The attorney for the board of directors reported discrepancies in deposits and receipts were brought to its attention in December, 2013.  That caused the board to immediately order an audit of deposits and receipts from that date backwards.

Following an internal investigation that included the services of an auditor, the findings were forwarded to law enforcement authorities in mid-January, 2014. Laura Dawson was then terminated as an employee of West Lawrence Water Co-operative.

The attorney for the board of directors reports both the internal investigation and the audit do not indicate that anyone other than Dawson was involved in the theft.

Internal measures were in place to protect against employee theft, but Dawson found a way to conceal her actions, according to the statement released.

The amount stolen is expected to exceed $500,000.00 over a period of several years.  Despite that amount stolen, the financial stability of the Co-op remains sound.  The Co-op, its board, officers and employees will continue to work fully with law enforcement officials and the Co-op’s insurance company to recover completely the money taken.


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