After Theft, Idaho Cutting Horse Association Changes Policies

The Idaho Cutting Horse Association (ICHA) has strengthened its bookkeeping practices in the wake of embezzlement by a former member.

The group’s former secretary, Dolly Martin, was ordered this month to pay restitution of $29,746 that prosecutors say she took in 2015-2016 while working for the group.

Current ICHA Secretary-Treasurer Sindy Haviland said the approximately 400-member association has since increased internal oversight of the secretary and treasurer positions, and also has stepped up its accounting practices. Martin was accused in court documents of writing unauthorized checks and making unauthorized debit card purchases.

“We have a lot of internal controls now as well as the books are taken to an accountant and reviewed, line by line, every month,” Haviland said.

Martin, who pleaded guilty to felony theft, is currently jailed for 180 days with work release. She will serve probation after her release. A three- to eight-year prison sentence was suspended pending successful completion of probation.

Martin’s husband Scott, an Equi-Stat Elite $1 Million Rider, told Quarter Horse News the money his wife took was funds she believed ICHA owed her in exchange for hours she worked. She’s now paying for what she did and intends to write the letter of apology ordered at her sentencing, he said.

Although Haviland said the theft had an impact on the ICHA, she believed the association would still be able to maintain the same prize money at its events that it offered in the past. Members have also increased efforts to secure sponsorships.

“We just want to put it out that it’s unfortunate that it happened,” she said. “However, it’s been dealt with, it’s behind us and we’ve moved forward.”

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