A Knoxville Raceway employee has been charged with first degree theft after an investigation showed she embezzled $98,000 from the raceway’s bank account. Accounting Manager Michelle Leigh Irving of Knoxville, was placed under arrest at 8:30 yesterday morning for theft in the first degree, which is a class C felony and could result in up to 10 years in prison. Irving and her attorney Richard Phelps went before Judge Wilson at the Marion County Sheriff’s Office where she waived a preliminary hearing and was released until further arraignment. Sheriff Ron Goemaat says Irving has cooperated fully with the investigation, expressed regret and admitted to the theft. Goemaat adds that there is no evidence that anyone else was involved and he believes it was an isolated incident. The investigation of cancelled checks and bank information shows that Irving had been writing herself checks from the Knoxville Raceway since January of 2007. Our search of court records indicate that Irving has no prior criminal history. Sheriff Goemaat says the investigation continues as the sheriff’s office awaits further information from financial documents, computer analysis and the audit report. Knoxville Raceway Director of Racing Ralph Capitani says “it’s a bad situation to be in, we are a small firm that trusts our employees and that obviously no longer works”. Capitani said that they raceway will be looking into to changes to prevent further financial issues but what those changes will be has not been determined. KNIA/KRLS news will continue to update you on this story as the investigation continues.