Police Beat

The County Prosecutor has filed criminal charges against the former Executive Director of the Island Hospital Foundation in connection with the embezzlement of as much as $300,000 over several years.

According to a news release from the Anacortes Police Department, the prosecutor filed charges of multiple counts of forgery and theft against Bernadette Stanek, who was the foundation’s Executive Director until the embezzlement was discovered and reported to the police late last month.

The County Prosecutor's Office indicated between $250,000 and $300,000 was embezzed by Stanek using an old Foundation credit card that was supposed to have been cancelled, then paid the credit card bills with Foundation money.

According to an affadavit filed in court, her actions were discovered when her assistant opened a credit card bill by chance. Stanek usually paid bills herself. Her assistant saw numerous purchases from businesses like Victoria's Secret, Merry Maids and Olive Garden.

Stanek told Anacortes Police she started using the old credit card in 2011 after she ran out of gas in Bellingham and became a "slippery slope" that ended out of control. 

The court affadavit said credit card bills totaled nearly $56,000 in 2011, then $83,000 in 2012 and over $100,000 last year. This year the bills had already gone over $83,000.

Stanek has been dismissed by the Foundation and reportedly has resigned from positions on the Anacortes Chamber of Commerce Board and the Anacortes Rotary Club.

The charges are Class B and Class C felonies, each carrying a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. Each forgery charge carries up to 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

“Working cooperatively with Island Hospital’s administration, the Island Hospital Foundation Board of Directors, and the Skagit County Prosecutor’s Office, Anacortes Detectives have completed an investigation into the alleged embezzlement case, “ according to a police department news release.

The foundation is a major money-raiser in Anacortes. Their Development Director, Bernadette Stanek, reported they raised $250,000 at their annual Gala of Hope event last April 26. And, their 2013 annual report said they had donated nearly $563,000 in support of Island Hospital.

COVID-19 Cases in Skagit County

1,890 Skagit Cases (+36)
130-139 Cases in ZIP 98221 

136 Hospitalizations (+2)
26 Deaths (+0)

153,906 Cases Statewide (+2,887)
10,242 Hospitalizations (+76)

2,704 Deaths Statewide (+14)

Updated 7:00 pm November 25, 2020.

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Sources: Skagit County Public Health, Washington State Department of Health, New York Times

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