A former records clerk who was the face of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office was arraigned Thursday and briefly taken into custody weeks after being arrested for allegedly stealing $60,000 in union dues over a four-year period.

Jennifer Goelze, 46, pleaded not guilty in Jefferson County Circuit Court to 18 counts of first- and second-degree theft.

She was placed on administrative leave earlier this fall when bookkeeping irregularities came to light and was indicted by a grand jury in October.

Goelze, of Culver, worked at the front desk of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office starting in 2009 and was the main point of contact for many community members. But it was in her role as treasurer for the office’s union that she’s accused of systematically stealing money.

Crook County District Attorney Wade Whiting is prosecuting the case because Jefferson County is the alleged victim.

Whiting argued in court to Judge Daina Vitolins that Goelze should be remanded into custody with “significant” security attached. The judge agreed and set her bail amount at $60,000, to correlate with the amount she’s alleged to have stolen.

The courthouse deputy took Goelze into custody with the intent to transport her to the Crook County jail, however, she was able to post bond in cash before that could happen.

Goelze faces years in prison. If found guilty of all counts, she would qualify as a repeat property offender under Oregon law and her sentence could be heightened.

The state alleges there were 77 different thefts that took place from November 2015 with the total amount stolen in excess of $60,000. Goelze had committed a theft of Jefferson County Law Enforcement Association funds in 32 of the past 36 months. Whiting told the judge this behavior demonstrated a “constant and systematic approach to her criminality.”

Whiting told the judge that Goelze hand wrote union checks in her name and cashed them into her personal checking account.

— Reporter: 541-383-0325, gandrews@bendbulletin.com

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