Hanford woman uses non-profit cheer squad to embezzle at least $50,000 from hospital

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A Hanford woman is in the Kings County Jail accused of embezzling at least $50,000 from a local hospital. (KFSN)

A Hanford woman is in the Kings County Jail accused of embezzling at least $50,000 from a local hospital.

By day, Deana Kleinknecht was a billing supervisor at Adventist Medical Center. By night, she was the treasurer of a local cheer squad. And officers said she used both non-profits to funnel money for personal gain.

"In that capacity, she obviously had a lot of trust," said Chief Parker Sever, Hanford Police.

For two years Kleinknecht capitalized off those powers. Police said she requested reimbursements for a phony insurance company and once she got the check from the hospital the deposited it into the Hanford pep squad's account.

The Chief said the siphoning went undetected until recently.

"When they started looking at the checks they were signing, they noticed they didn't have addresses on them. That's when they discovered it was being deposited into an account in Hanford, and they knew the insurance company was not in Hanford," said Chief Sever.

The Chief said Kleinknecht was also pocketing cash from payments parents made to the cheer squad

Family members of Kleinknecht said she was still in jail, awaiting a court date. Officers said the suspect confessed to having a gambling problem.

"Once somebody gets into trouble, it usually kind of spirals from there, and if they have the opportunity they will," said Chief Sever.

Closing the door on those opportunities isn't hard. Adventist Health Center already strengthen its accounting and auditing and police said other non-profits should do it too.

"Have multiple people involved in the process. Don't have one person accept the cash, it's much less likely to have two people collaborate to steal money from an organization," said Chief Sever.

Hospital staff members said no private patient information was compromised. Kleinknecht is no longer an employee and the cheer squad said she's not their treasurer anymore.
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newsembezzlementhanfordkings countynon-profitHanford
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