QUITMAN, Texas (KETK) — A grand jury has formally indicted an Alba woman after she was arrested in January for allegedly stealing more than $20,000 from the city of Quitman.
Amber Raelynn Highnote, 35, of Alba, has been accused of theft by way of unlawfully acquiring and exercising control over property of the city of Quitman, which reportedly went on between February 2018 and July 2021, according to the official indictment document. Highnote’s official charge is theft of property more than $2,500, less than $30,000, which is a state jail level felony.
According to an arrest affidavit, Highnote worked as the city water clerk from February 2017 to July 2021, at which point she apparently resigned from her position. Roughly a month after her resignation, an employee for the city of Quitman gave a voluntary statement to the Quitman Police Department after she had discovered a discrepancy.
At some point, the employee was notified that a city water customer apparently had their water turned off. After reviewing the customer’s account, she found that it did not have a deposit entered in the deposit field, but the notes section had a $150 deposit that was entered on June 29, 2020, the affidavit stated.
The employee then proceeded to check multiple methods, but was ultimately unable to find a deposit that had been entered for the customer. However, according to the court document, she did manage to locate a written receipt for the cash received.
The city’s water system accounting records subsequently underwent an extensive search, which revealed numerous missing entries between 2018 and 2021, the document stated. Upon this discovery, a third party was called in to review the data collected.
This third party was a financial auditor, and he was given a sample of the collected data. After he reviewed this data, he confirmed that the money was not in the reports, nor was it ever put into the bank deposits.
The affidavit concluded that according to the city employee and the documents provided to Quitman PD, the money missing from Highnote’s transactions between 2018 and 2021 totaled $23,250. The employee further reported that one receipt book from the same time period was missing from the city’s inventory.
The affidavit was signed on Jan. 24 and Highnote was arrested just four days later on Jan. 28 and booked into the Wood County Jail with a $10,000 bond. She was released the same day, according to official records.