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Mayor’s daughter allegedly embezzles over $38,000 from City of Bonanza



Little Rock, Arkansas – The City of Bonanza’s administrative assistant, who is also the mayor’s daughter, is suspected of embezzling more than $38,000 from the municipality. The Sebastian County Prosecutor is looking into the matter.

A state audit claims that Laurie Denham, Mayor Elmer Nelson’s daughter, earned $38,042 in unlawful payments to herself between January 2018 and May 2022.

According to the audit, Denham issued herself 36 additional wage checks totaling $16,708 for herself.

It turned out that she also spent $21,334 on gift cards for a number of restaurants and stores, including Lowe’s, Bed, Bath & Beyond, and

The audit found that Denham also altered the city’s bank records.

On Friday, Nelson gave a testimony before the state’s joint legislative auditing committee.

“I was totally unaware of everything. She took care of the books and all that stuff, and it hit me like a wedge,” Nelson said.

On Friday, Mayor Nelson was questioned by Arkansas Senator Trent Garner.

“What kind of dereliction of common sense and duty for you as a father did you allow that to happen to the citizens of your city,” he asked Nelson.

“I was unaware of it,” was Nelson’s response.

“How were you unaware of it when she pled guilty to it, and you kept her on your staff,” Sen. Garner followed up.

Denham admitted to theft by deceit in October 2016 for paying more than $13,000 in improper wage payments to herself from the city’s coffers, according to Daniel Shue, Sebastian County Prosecutor.

Before he was elected, the Bonanza City Council allegedly allowed Denham to remain in her position as the administrative assistant to her father following the initial accusations.

Nelson reported that the city had already hired a new administrative assistant and that his daughter had been sacked.

Shue declared that although no charges have yet been brought, his office has started an investigation into the fresh allegations.

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