A Whitefield official has stepped down after admitting to stealing $17,000 from the town over the past two years.

Tax collector Robin White resigned Thursday after disclosing she had misappropriated the money, according to a statement released by selectmen. Selectmen, who accepted the resignation, had previously suspended her.

White, who has already repaid $6,000, has agreed to repay the remaining $11,000 by the weekend. Selectmen are negotiating a settlement with White through her attorney, Roger Katz.

“The board will be conducting a full audit of all impacted accounts, and Robin has agreed to fully cooperate with the auditors,” selectmen said. “She has also agreed to set forth fully in writing a description of how the misappropriation occurred.”

Town auditors are developing recommendations to improve controls in administrative procedures to prevent similar conduct in the future, selectmen said.

Town Clerk Aaron Miller said the town has notified law enforcement and the district attorney’s office, but said the town is not actively pursuing charges against White. Selectmen said they “reserve the right to do so” if the audit uncovers unexpected information.

Katz said the thefts occurred after White’s family ran into financial difficulty. He said she came forward without the threat of an investigation or discovery.

“She couldn’t live with herself,” Katz said. “She’s a good person who got in over her head. The situation just snowballed.”

Katz said White is working feverishly to repay the remaining $11,000.

“She wants to try to make it right and take full responsibility,” Katz said.

He said White has no criminal record and hopes to keep it that way. She met Thursday night with town officials and auditors to go over the books as part of an effort to avoid criminal prosecution.

“She hopes that won’t be seen as necessary,” Katz said. “Selectmen I’ve spoken with have a real affection for Robin and are surprised and sad at this turn of events.”

Craig Crosby — 621-5642

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Twitter: @CraigCrosby4