A Vinton woman is accused of embezzling nearly $300,000 from the car dealership where she worked for 24 years.

Kelly Banghart, 56, was arrested earlier this month on a charge of first-degree theft. Court records show she has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Vinton police said they were contacted by Ervin Motor Company officials last month to investigate suspicious transactions found in the car dealership's checking account. According to court records, authorities determined that Banghart stole $295,608.31 from the Vinton business between May 2015 and Aug. 2019. She then allegedly used the money to make unauthorized payments on her personal credit card accounts.

Court documents also show that Banghart allegedly admitted to investigators that she took the funds.

A trial date has not been set.

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