County employee allegedly took $72,000 in drug court vouchers

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YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — A state audit says a Yakima County employee accused earlier this year of stealing close to $8,000 actually took more than nine times that amount in vouchers, which are intended to help participants in the county’s drug court pay rent and utility bills or buy food and clothing.

The Yakima Herald-Republic reports the audit released Thursday alleges that 35-year-old Rene Prado forged more than $72,000 worth of vouchers.

Prado was arrested in February on theft charges and was released on her own recognizance.

Yakima County sheriff’s deputies had investigated 54 vouchers totaling about $8,000 that Prado allegedly issued to people who were not participants in the drug court. The state auditor’s office took over the case and conducted a more extensive investigation.

Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney Joe Brusic says he will determine whether additional charges are possible.

Prado has since resigned.