MURPHYSBORO —A former bookkeeper at Burkey Excavating pleaded not guilty Thursday in Jackson County Court to charges she stole more than $100,000 from her former longtime employer.
Jama L. Kuba, 44, of Carbondale is accused of using company checks to pay for $131,000 in personal bills. Jackson County Sheriff’s Lt. Michael O’Leary testified Kuba allegedly used the money for credit card, mortgage, cellphone and other bills from December 2008 until September 2011.
Under questioning from Assistant State’s Attorney Casey Bloodworth, O’Leary said Kuba logged checks to herself into company books as legitimate business expenses.
O’Leary said Sam Burkey, the business owner, reported the alleged embezzlement in November after Burkey noticed suspicious activity while checking his account online.
O’Leary’s testimony was enough for Judge William G. Schwartz to find probable cause for Kuba to go to trial on a Class 1 felony charge of theft between $100,000 and $500,000.
Kuba’s lawyer, Bryan Drew, disputed the amount of the alleged theft. He said he would file a motion for a bill of particulars to find out when the checks in question were written to determine whether those dates were outside the statute of limitations.
Drew got O’Leary to admit Burkey appeared to sign some of the checks written to Kuba.
Drew also said Kuba and Burkey had a sexual relationship, and Burkey only reported the alleged theft to police after Kuba married another man and ended the tryst with Burkey.
Kuba worked for Burkey for 15 years. She has a case management conference scheduled at 1 p.m. June 25.
In a separate case, Kuba faces a Class 2 felony charge of stealing between $10,000 and $100,000 from Mason Concrete between July 2008 and June 2009.
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