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Magkamit remains in county jail

Trial date postponed and bail reduction request denied for woman accused of theft, forgery

Accused embezzler Elma Magkamit, who was arrested in late April, remains incarcerated in the Clackamas County Jail, awaiting trial on 114 felony allegations of forgery and theft.

The case will take an extended period of time, according to Deputy District Attorney Mike Regan, because Magkamit has waived her right to a speedy trial.

'It's typical in Clackamas County that most criminal cases take between three and eight months (before going to trial),' Regan said. 'But for really serious cases, it can be over a year.'

Magkamit resigned her post as finance director for the city of West Linn last fall. Subsequently, a new finance director and temporary senior accountant was hired. While the accountant was reconciling bank accounts, which hadn't been done by Magkamit, it was discovered that over several years she had written checks to Magkamit Consulting, a fictitious firm, totaling $1,411,560.

Last week's initial trial date of June 15 included only a quick visit to a circuit courtroom to request a postponement, according to Whitney Boise, Magkamit's attorney.

'I just got all of the discovery (information and evidence gathered by investigators) yesterday (June 15),' said Boise in a June 16 telephone interview.

Boise was given a new trial date of Aug. 4, but Regan said that likely will be bypassed for a later date.

'In this case there are thousands and thousands of pages of discovery (evidence),' Regan said. 'The defense attorney is wading through all that. And, in fact, the investigation isn't even complete because the attorney general's office is following the paper trail, wherever it may lead.'

The city of West Linn also continues to conduct an investigation through a team of forensic auditors, who are searching through city records to determine exactly what happened that was either improper or illegal.

'If there's anything the city turns up,' Regan said, 'we'll certainly act upon it. But at this point, we have more than sufficient evidence on Elma.'

A few weeks ago, Boise asked a judge for a reduction of Magkamit's bail, calling it excessive. But apparently due to the risk of flight, the judge denied the request, keeping full bail at more than $2.2 million. Magkamit has dual citizenship in the U.S. and Philippine Islands, where her family now resides.

A case manager's hearing also had been scheduled, but due to the lack of discovery information at that time, it was cancelled.

A grand jury charged Magkamit with 57 counts of forgery in the first degree, five counts of theft in the first degree and 52 counts of aggravated theft in the first degree.

Much of the more than $1.4 million in missing city funds allegedly became gambling losses, according to West Linn Police Chief Terry Timeus, who announced publicly that among evidence gathered at Magkamit's Woodburn home were a number of gambling receipts from several locations.

Magkamit's next opportunity to begin a trial is Aug. 4 at 9 a.m.