Estimated impact tops $85,000
LA VERNIA -- Police here continue their investigation into ongoing instances of theft allegedly committed against the Greater La Vernia Chamber of Commerce by its former treasurer, Patsy Ritchey. As of June 25, Chief Bruce Ritchey of the La Vernia Police Department -- no familial relation to the accused -- said based on the continued examination of the chamber’s financial records, as much as $85,000 to $90,000 was stolen.
The police chief said it appears as though Patsy Ritchey stole the money for her own personal use. He is awaiting the outcome of a subpoena issued for one more of the chamber’s checks, written from its building fund account.
La Vernia police began investigating Patsy Ritchey April 22, after chamber board members learned of another ongoing criminal investigation by the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office White Collar Crimes Division. That agency, which enlisted the services of Investigator Gordon Bake of the Texas Department of Insurance, continues to pursue complaints related to alleged insurance fraud committed by Ritchey’s former business, Patsy Ritchey Farmers Insurance office on U.S. 87 in La Vernia. Farmers Insurance terminated its relationship with Patsy Ritchey April 18, prior to the office’s closure.
Bexar County District Attorney’s Office Prosecutor Nicole Thornbro said she was unable to comment on specific information related to her office’s case, as the grand-jury investigation remains active. She urged any of the insurance agency’s former customers who believe they might have fallen victim to Patsy Ritchey, to call Bake at 210-335-2404.
Meanwhile, the police chief said Patsy Ritchey has sold her home in La Vernia and someone else now resides there. However, officials remain in contact with her attorney ahead of the case’s possible indictment.
The chamber has discussed retaining the services of attorney Grace Barrera, who said the board had not formally voted on her hire as of press time July 2.