ANCHORAGE -

The store manager at the Great Alaska Council for Boy Scouts store in east Anchorage is accused of stealing more than $27,000 in a series of fraudulent transactions dating back to 2009.
    
In December 2013, an Anchorage Police Department patrol officer was called to the Great Alaska Council for Boy Scouts office at 3117 Patterson Street by Scout Executive Clifford Crismore.

Crismore was reporting "suspicious" transactions that saw items sold from the store and then returned a few days later.

Crismore said 45-year-old Michael Saunders was the store manager at the time, and had been since Feb. 2009. Saunders was responsible for the returns, and court records showed all of the transactions occurred while Saunders was logged in to the store's computers.

In January Crismore provided police with documentation from credit card giant Visa, who had contacted him after gift cards had been refunded without making initial purchases.
   
An internal audit by the Boy Scouts of America, the results of which were made available to police, found Saunders “routinely processed refunds to credit cards he personally controlled, including refunds to his girlfriend’s card. He also routinely processed cash refunds that were fraudulent.”

The audit found Saunders handled 895 since 2009, 499 of which were flagged as fraudulent. In total the fraud amounted to a loss of $27,293. About $9,000 of that came from credit card and gift card refunds. The extra $18,000 was from stolen cash, documents show.

Court records linked a woman identified as Saunders’s girlfriend to two transactions in 2009 and 2011 totaling about $350 dollars. It was unknown if she also faces criminal charges.

Calls to Saunders's public defender were not returned Wednesday.

Saunders was arraigned Feb. 12 after posting a $5,000 bond on Jan. 30. His pre-indictment hearing is scheduled for March 13.