A local government official in Palm Beach County, Florida, stole tens of thousands of dollars over three years, taking county fees paid by exotic dancers and getting away with it because most of the transactions were paid in cash, officials say.
Anita Pedemey, 54, was arrested Thursday in West Palm Beach on charges of grand theft, fraud and misconduct, according to the Orlando Sentinel, and later posted bail.
Authorities say Pedemey stole at least $27,575, and potentially more, from 2013 to 2016, per the Palm Beach Post. For the most part, officials believe the money came from a $75 fee Palm Beach County charges exotic dancers for required photo IDs.
Because most dancers deal primarily in cash, Pedemey was allegedly able to easily manipulate the county’s financial software system with little oversight and make the total amount of revenue seem lower than it was, according to the Post.
However, in mid-2015, a co-worker reportedly began to notice that dancers would come in and buy IDs but would not show up on the next day’s report. The co-worker told a supervisor, who investigated and found more discrepancies, per Gossip Extra.
In November 2016, Pedemey allegedly confessed to her supervisors, per WPTV. However, she asked them not to tell anyone and claimed she could “fix this.”
“My husband was spending a lot of money in Home Depot. I knew it was wrong," she allegedly told authorities.
But even Pedemey’s confession was not fully truthful, officials say. She told her supervisors she had only been embezzling funds from the adult entertainment IDs for “about six months,” and taken roughly $16,000, per WFTV. When officials checked, they determined she had been doing it for three years and had taken almost $27,600, per the Orlando Sentinel.
Additionally, Pedemey is believed to have also stolen cash from the county’s victim services fund, much of which comes from convicted criminals who opt to pay a fine instead of community service, per the Palm Beach Post. Much of that fund is paid in cash as well, officials say.
Speaking with authorities, Pedemey later explained her comments about Home Depot further, per Gossip Extra.
“There were a lot of bills, things happening. My husband always wants things fixed. The boys needed help and there was a lot of pressure on me,” she allegedly said.
Pedemey resigned from her position in December 2016.
Moving forward, the county has recommended that exotic dancers no longer be able to use cash in paying for IDs due to the difficulty in tracing it, per the Orlando Sentinel.