Ex-Nevada City mayor’s wife arrested on embezzlement charges | TheUnion.com

Ex-Nevada City mayor’s wife arrested on embezzlement charges

The wife of a former Nevada City mayor was arrested Thursday afternoon on suspicion of embezzling more than $100,000 from a homeowners association, where she was treasurer.

Grass Valley police arrested Linda Balch, 61, at her home in Nevada City after a two-week investigation into her activities as the treasurer of the Woodbridge Townhomes Homeowners Association.

Balch had access to the homeowners association accounts, and she used the funds for personal gain, according to Grass Valley police Sgt. Doug Hren.

The alleged embezzlement occurred between Sept. 17, 2005 and Sept. 30 of this year, said Deputy District Attorney Jim Phillips.

The county district attorney’s office filed four felony charges against Balch, including three counts of felony embezzlement and one count of theft from an elder, Phillips said.

“Many of the victims were elderly,” he said.

Thirty-six members belong to the homeowners association, and the majority of the residents are more than 65 years old, Hren said.

The homeowners association voted Balch off the board two weeks ago, when they discovered the alleged embezzlement through an audit, said association president Bill Hegarty.

Association members contacted their bank, Citizens Bank in Grass Valley, and bank staff notified police after a review of account records, he said.

“We’re holding our breath,” Hegarty said. “We’ve told everyone about it. We’re supposed to get restitution, so we’ll see what happens.”

Citizens Bank Senior Vice President Michael Behn would not discuss the allegations.

“Citizens Bank does not comment on these matters,” he said.

Balch admitted to taking the money, but she was not clear with investigators about how she spent it, Hren said.

Phillips also filed enhancements of theft of more than $50,000, adding a year to the possible sentence, as well as theft of more than $100,000, making Balch potentially ineligible for probation, he said.

Balch’s husband, Tom Balch, was mayor of Nevada City in 1998 and 1999. He also was the first president of the 49er Breakfast Rotary Club of Nevada City in 1990, according to The Union’s archives, and remains a member.

The Balches have been married for 44 years.

Linda Balch contends her husband had no knowledge of the alleged embezzlement, Hren said. Investigators have not yet interviewed him, Hren added.

A Nevada County judge signed a $100,000 warrant Thursday afternoon for Linda Balch’s arrest, and she was booked into Wayne Brown Correctional Facility later in the evening. Her arraignment had not yet been scheduled.


To contact Staff Writer Robyn Moormeister, e-mail robynm@theunion.com or call 477-4236.

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