By Paul Daquilante • Staff Writer • 

McMinnville woman linked to embezzlement case

A McMinnville woman was arrested this week by the Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office on forgery and theft charges. It’s alleged she embezzled more than $40,000 from her former employer, Southern Cross Aviation of Yamhill.

Detective Don Stackpole identified her as Renee Willkomm Ireland, 43, who was living at 2030 N.W. St. Andrews Drive at the time of her arrest. She has a residence out of town, but was taken into custody at her boyfriend’s house in McMinnville, according to the detective.

A warrant issued last week for Ireland’s arrest charged her with eight counts of identity theft, five counts of first-degree forgery, four counts of aggravated first-degree theft and two counts of first-degree theft. She was arraigned on the felony indictment before Circuit Court Judge Ronald Stone, who granted her a conditional release.

Oregon Revised Statute 164.071 states:

A person commits the crime of aggravated theft in the first degree if the person violates ORS 164.055 (first-degree theft) with respect to property, other than a motor vehicle used primarily for personal rather than commercial transportation, and the value of the property in a single or aggregate transaction is $10,000 or more.

“She was an office manager,” Stackpole said. “She was terminated in February, but that was not related to this case. Following her termination, all of this came to light, the company contacted the sheriff’s office and away we went.”

He said he has been working the case since April. Stackpole said Ireland wrote checks to herself on the company’s bank account without the knowledge of the owners.

Southern Cross contracts with airplane manufacturers and provides test flight pilots in addition to ferrying aircraft to buyers worldwide.

It delivered its first aircraft in 1976, a single-engine Cessna from California to Australia, according to its website. Since the early days of ferrying small aircraft to Australia, the company has expanded into a worldwide aircraft delivery company, having delivered aircraft to more than 100 countries on six continents.

The business consists of two companies, one located in Yamhill and another in the Netherlands. Both companies deliver more than 150 aircraft and test fly more than 100 annually.

A representative of the company declined comment.

Ireland will return to court at 3 p.m. Monday, Dec. 10.

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