Woman mistakenly arraigned in embezzlement case

Employee accused of embezzling $800K+ from Portland dentist

Chanel T. Lewis, 36, left, was arraigned by mistake. Yvette King, 45, on the right, is charged with embezzlement. (MCSO)
Chanel T. Lewis, 36, left, was arraigned by mistake. Yvette King, 45, on the right, is charged with embezzlement. (MCSO)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) –- Prosecutors have accused a former employee of a local dentist office of embezzling more than $800,000. But new information reveals Multnomah County court staff mistakenly arraigned another woman, not associated to the embezzlement case, due to some sort of error.

The four-page indictment against Yvette King accuses her of stealing from Downtown Dental Associates (DDA), where she was the bookkeeper from 2009 to March 2014.

King is also accused of unlawfully using someone else’s identity more than 70 times between August 2010 and March 2015. She allegedly used the bank account of DDA to write checks to herself by forging the name of one of the original founders of the business.

Newly filed court documents show King told court staff she currently works at Clark College.

Woman originally arraigned, not the true suspect

The grand jury originally issued the indictment April 8. King, who lives in Vancouver, was scheduled to be arraigned April 9 at the Multnomah County Justice Center. KOIN 6 News learned when the warrant was entered into the system, a woman named Chanel Lewis, 36, was already in custody at the Multnomah County Detention Center on an unrelated case. Officials said Lewis used the alias of “Yvette King” several times in the past.

When the warrant was entered, county officials said some sort of error occurred. The warrant and indictment against King were added onto Lewis’ case because of the alias. Lewis was arraigned on the indictment against King the morning of April 9.

When the error was discovered, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office filed a motion to have the indictment against Lewis removed from her jail booking information and court file. Deputy District Attorney Ryan Lufkin wrote in court documents, “Chanel Lewis is not the true Yvette King to whom the indictment and warrant sought.”

The warrant and indictment on Lewis’ file were removed. She remains in custody for the unrelated crime and is scheduled to be released May 8. Court records show she plead guilty to driving under the influence of intoxicants, second-degree theft and resisting arrest from an incident that occurred September 28, 2014.

Her attorney has not returned phone calls seeking comment.

KOIN 6 News learned when a warrant is issued from the local county court, it includes physical descriptors of the subject who is being sought including race, height, weight, address and age if known. It remains unclear why staff did not see the different physical descriptors for King and Lewis.

Lt. Steve Alexander, a spokesperson with Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, said he is looking into the matter. Staff for the Trial Court Administrator of Multnomah County Court and staff for Presiding Judge Nan G. Waller are also investigating.

A copy of the warrant issued for Yvette King shows her physical descriptors that do not match Chanel Lewis'.
A copy of the warrant issued for Yvette King shows her physical descriptors that do not match Chanel Lewis’.

Embezzlement investigation

Police said their investigation showed King embezzled more than $800,000. The case was investigated by the White Collars Crime Unit with Portland Police Bureau.

King is charged with six counts of first-degree theft by deception, four counts of first-degree aggravated first-degree theft, seven counts of aggravated identity theft and one count of identity theft.

Calls to the dental office have not been returned. Officials said there is no indication any customer data was ever accessed.

King was taken into custody last week in Washington state. She was transported to Multnomah County Inveness Jail on Tuesday with bail set at $345,000. She was arraigned at the Justice Center via video Wednesday morning, court records show. King will appear in court again June 19.

When reached by phone Wednesday morning, King’s husband declined to comment. Clark College Chief Communication Officer, Chato Hazelbaker, provided the following statement regarding the matter:

“Yvette King is a part-time temporary employee of the college who is an adjunct instructor in our continuing education area. We will be looking further into this as it appears the charges were only filed yesterday. We do complete background checks on all employees when they are hired.”

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