A former partner in a Walla Walla winery marketing company pleaded not guilty Monday to first-degree theft and first-degree identity theft.
Lloyd H. Benedict, 35, of Canby, Ore., was accused of stealing more than $100,000 from a company where he was employed. Court records state that Benedict started The American Winery with Brian J. Miller in 2007.
In 2011, Miller opened the new business Premier Cellar Agency. Benedict was an employee at this agency and not a partner, records stated.
Miller noticed he was losing money and had records investigated by the Justice for Fraud Victims Project of Gonzaga University. The report showed that from August 2011 through December 2013, checks had been deposited into Benedict’s bank account totaling $103,434.71. Miller also told police that Benedict had taken assets from the agency at 9 S. Second Ave. to a location on East Main Street, records stated. The business is at 30 W. Main St., according to its website. A company representative told the U-B that Benedict has not been associated with the agency for four or five years.
His trial is scheduled for Sept. 9 and 10.