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Former Elko County accountant charged with theft, misconduct

From the Elko County crime reports: Dec. 9 update series
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ELKO – A former Elko County employee was arrested Wednesday on multiple counts of theft and misconduct after an investigation accused her of diverting more than $50,000 in payments to her personal bank account over the past three years.

Sara E. Steninger, 32, was booked into Elko County Jail on $170,000 bail.

Steninger, also known as Sara Benoit, was employed by the county in 2013 and was working as an accountant when the alleged thefts occurred.

The investigation began in November 2020 after the Elko County Treasurer’s Office processed an electronic funds transfer in the amount of $23,331 to a company that sells drones. A bank fraud prevention team contacted the treasurer on the following day, and the fund transfer to Steninger’s account was recalled.

She was placed on administrative leave two weeks later. According to a document filed with the criminal complaint, she admitted filing the fund transfer and submitted her resignation on Dec. 7.

The Nevada Investigation Division was called in two days later at the request of District Attorney Tyler Ingram.

A forensic audit determined that Steninger began depositing checks from various vendors into her personal account in June 2018. A total of $51,386 was diverted from that time through March 2020. The 11 transfers included payments from law firms, a paper supply company and NV Energy.

The $23,331 fund transfer for the drone purchase was made eight months later.

The Nevada Investigation Division completed its report on Nov. 17, 2021, and requested an arrested warrant be issued. A criminal complaint was issued Nov. 30, charging her with eight counts of theft and four counts of misconduct by a public official.

Steninger was arrested early Wednesday morning.

She was one of seven finalists named in October 2020 to replace the retiring county manager.

This week’s felony arrests:

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