Former director of Augusta chamber jailed on theft charges

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The Augusta Chamber of Commerce’s executive director has been jailed on suspicion of felony theft after the organization’s board of directors noticed financial irregularities during its monthly meeting, the chamber’s president said Thursday.

Robert Kent Overaker was booked into the Butler County Jail late Thursday morning, following inquiries into the alleged theft by the chamber and Augusta police, chamber president Kent Bush said.

Bush said members of the board sifting through financial information for recent events noticed Tuesday that expenses and revenue for last weekend’s annual chamber-sponsored golf tournament “just didn’t add up.”

“Things we thought we should have and what we should have in the bank” did not match, he said.

The inconsistencies, Bush said, prompted a short investigation by the chamber’s board, which then turned its findings over to Augusta police Tuesday afternoon. Bush said the chamber’s apparent loss falls “comfortably” between $1,000 and $25,000 – part of Overaker’s charge – but said he did not know an exact amount.

Overaker remained in jail Thursday evening in lieu of $2,500 bond, jail Sgt. D. Morris said. He is scheduled to make his first court appearance on the charge Friday.

Bush said the chamber’s board fired Overaker following his arrest. He has held the job since March 2012. The executive director is the chamber’s only paid position, Bush said.

“(We’re) trying to make sure this episode doesn’t affect our credibility with the citizens,” Bush said. “… We’re going to continue to be the organization that people expect.”