Pet emergency clinic manager accused of pocketing nearly $500k in Tri-Cities

KENNEWICK — A Kennewick woman is accused of siphoning off nearly half a million dollars from a Tri-Cities business.

Kristina L. Ripplinger, 43, is under investigation for taking cash from bank deposits at Horse Heaven Hills Pet Urgent Center for more than four years.

She was arrested Tuesday and appeared briefly in Benton County Superior Court on Wednesday afternoon.

The business became aware of the missing funds this month and hired a CPA firm to inspect their financial processes, according to a Kennewick Police Department news release. The firm found more than $470,000 in cash was missing, said the release.

The deputy prosecutor at Ripplinger’s first appearance noted that the “amount in this case is alarming.”

Ripplinger is a licensed veterinary technician and practice manager at the urgent pet center at 3315 W. Clearwater Ave.

She’s worked in veterinary medicine for more than two decades, including at veterinarian offices in the Tri-Cities and Pocatello, Idaho, according to her LinkedIn.

She was booked Tuesday into Benton County jail on investigation of one felony count of theft. On Wednesday, she had her first court appearance in Benton County Superior Court, where bail was set at $40,000.

Riplinger asked for a public defense attorney, but Judge Norma Rodriguez said she was unqualified if she was qualified. The issue was expected to be settled before her next court appearance.

Online public records show Ripplinger has also been involved as leader of at least one Tri-Cities booster club for a local cheer organization, which was incorporated September 2019.

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