By Eric DuVall
Sept. 2 (UPI) — A Florida municipal employee was charged with theft after allegedly pocketing the $75 fee the county charges for an exotic dancer license because most of the strippers paid in cash.
Anita Pedemey, 54, of West Palm Beach, was charged Thursday with grand theft, fraud and official misconduct after supervisors at the Palm Beach County office where she worked uncovered the scheme.
In Palm Beach County, strippers or exotic dancers are required to obtain a county-issued photo ID. The cost for one is $75 and Pedemey worked in the office where those licenses are issued. Because strippers regularly deal in cash, most used that to pay, rather than a check or credit card that would be more easily traced.
A coworker notified a supervisor after noticing Pedemey had been issuing the IDs, but they were not showing up on the next day’s report. When the manager began more closely scrutinizing the office’s ledger, other irregularities were uncovered, investigators said.
She is also accused of pocketing more than $4,500 from the victim services fund, a pot of money generated when convicted criminals elect to pay a fine rather than complete court-ordered community service.
County officials said Pedemey had been running the scam for up to three years and had taken an estimated $27,600 that should have gone into the public coffers.
The fraud was discovered in November. According to WPTV-West Palm Beach, Pedemey told her bosses she felt pressured to steal the money because her husband had been running up large repair bills at Home Depot. Pedemey resigned her position in December as an investigation by the county inspector general was still ongoing. That report was released Tuesday and on Thursday, police followed up with criminal charges.
Pedemey was released on bail.