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Former Snoqualmie Railroad Days president stole thousands of dollars from business partner

A King County judge has ordered the former president of Snoqualmie Railroad Days to pay back thousands of dollars to a former business partner.

Tove A. Warmerdam, 39, was a Snoqualmie magazine publisher and president of Railroad Days for three years, starting in 2006.

She was sentenced for second degree theft September 8 in King County Superior Court. Judge Julie Spector ordered Warmerdam to pay $78,900 to her former business partner and several banks, perform 240 hours of community service and pay restitution and court costs. She had been charged in the case last July and later pled guilty.

Charging documents say that in April of 2008, Warmerdam started a business partnership with a North Bend woman to publish Seattle Cat Magazine. Warmerdam was to publish the magazine, as she was already the owner of Seattle Dog Magazine and Fido Friendly magazines.

Her partner refinanced her home and provided Warmerdam with a $40,000 check to start the magazine. Warmerdam told her that the money was needed to start a Web site and pay other expenses. Warmerdam also had access to much of her partner's personal information.

By August, her partner found that she had done nothing to put out the magazine and had been evicted from rented office space in Snoqualmie. No Web site had been started, and there was no indication that she had started the publication, so the partner drafted a letter demanding her money back.

In September, the partner received a notice from Chase Bank that she had been refused credit due to delinquent accounts. She had never had a Chase account or applied for credit. When she did a credit check, she found that an account in her name, but with Warmerdam's address, owed $38,200.

Documents say that the victim never gave Warmerdam permission to start a credit line with Chase or any other bank using her personal information.

She discovered that Warmerdam had allegedly forged an application for $30,000 from Chase, in the name of her business, listing the partner as the "Authorizing Corporate Officer." All correspondence from the bank was sent to Warmerdam's home.

Records of the card use showed Warmerdam had used the card to make personal purchases exceeding the credit limit. Payments were made by check to Chase but were returned due to insufficient funds.

In October of 2009, the partner called the police after being contacted by a collection agency for Capital One Visa. She was told that her account, which was addressed to Warmerdam's business, was $22,000 in arrears. The victim had not known about the account previously.

A King County detective contacted businesses where the card was used and found that Warmerdam had run up thousands of dollars in charges for dog shows and magazine printing, but never paid.

The Northwest Railway Museum assumed control of the festival in 2009.

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