A plea of Not Guilty was registered in Benton County Superior Court Thursday by the former Treasurer of the Richland Riders Club.

Katrine Smith is accused of the theft of nearly $100K from the club over the last 8 years. She's facing First Degree Theft with aggravating circumstances with Major Economic Offense.  Criminal statutes allow for extra penalties to be added to 'regular' theft charges if the crimes exceed certain dollar amounts, and if they are of very large scale.

Smith turned herself into authorities and they began to investigate. She admitted taking some $38,000 but said she paid it back. The investigation continues, an audit, but so far officials have found at least 300 checks she signed for payout that did not have a co-signer.

Smith was to be paid $960 a year, official say the total amount of questionable transactions could be as high as $117,000. Her next court date will be October 23rd. Until then she can travel outside the county but is not allowed to leave Washington state.

Founded in 1949, the Richland Riders Club in West Richland caters to horse enthusiasts of all ages, with a wide variety of equestrian events, classes and shows.

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