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Woman accused of defrauding Arizona church, clinic

PHOENIX -- Authorities say an accountant is in custody for allegedly stealing about $145,000 from a veterinarian clinic in Buckeye and a Goodyear church.

Maricopa County Sheriff's officials say 39-year-old Michelle Hice is on probation for similar offenses in 2006.

Sheriff's officials say the Buckeye woman was running the clinic's daily accounting, payroll, and bills for the past year through a third party accounting firm.

Last October, the clinic was contacted by the IRS for non-payment of taxes and discovered Hice had written more than $130,000 in unauthorized checks to herself.

Sheriff's detectives say Hice also did the church's accounting until she was fired last October.

Authorities determined Hice had written about $15,000 in checks to herself and depositing them in her bank account.

They didn't know if Hice has a lawyer.

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