The San Benito County District Attorney’s Office has filed charges against Erin Baxter, the former supervising librarian for the San Benito Free Library, in relation to an alleged years-long embezzlement operation.

Baxter was charged with three counts including forgery, conspiracy and one count of grand theft by embezzlement in which losses were more than $100,000 but less than $500,000, according to DA Joel Buckingham. The charges were filed May 21 in San Benito County Superior Court and Baxter posted $20,000 bail on May 28, according to court records.

No other parties have been charged in relation to the crimes, according to the DA’s office.

“At this time no other individuals have been charged and our office is working with the Sheriff’s Office to ensure that the case is fully investigated as to any other potential parties,” Buckingham said on June 11.

The scandal first broke in May 2023, following the en masse resignation of library employees, including a longtime county librarian. That former employee is not a suspect, according to the sheriff’s office. 

Shortly before the resignations, the San Benito County Auditor’s office, during a routine audit, came across suspicious activity on an account connected to the library. Upon further investigation, they found potential criminal activity and tipped off the authorities, having zeroed in on one individual, according to the sheriff’s office.

The ongoing theft is alleged to have occurred between July 2022 and April 2023, said the DA’s Office.

By late 2023, local authorities divulged that the FBI had been brought in to help due to the sophisticated nature of the crime.

“We brought in the FBI as we do not have a forensic accounting investigator… Based on the complexity of the scheme, we needed their expert opinion and investigation,” San Benito County Sheriff Eric Taylor told the Free Lance in January 2024.

“[E]very person is presumed innocent and has the absolute constitutional right to a jury trial as to each and every element of every charged offense,” Buckingham said on June 11. 

Baxter is due back in San Benito County Superior Court on July 10 for an arraignment hearing in front of Judge Patrick K. Palacios at 1:30pm.

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