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New Haven man accused of using company card, theft of $170,000

– A New Haven man was charged with theft Thursday for his role in what investigators said was misuse of a company credit card for nearly $170,000 in personal expenses.

Jeffrey W. Kline, 50, told investigators he knew he would eventually be caught but it was “very easy, too easy” to get away with use of the card for his own expenses.

Investigators said Kline misused his Michelin corporate credit card between Dec. 14, 2011, and Oct. 3, 2013, for purchases that included food, gift cards, a boat rental and a large-screen television.

A supervisor at the BF Goodrich plant where Kline worked first called police in mid-October 2013 and reported the possible misuse of the card.

About a month later, police received the company’s internal investigation report that detailed $169,707 in illegal charges made to Kline’s business credit card.

According to a probable cause affidavit, other purchases made by Kline included electronics, other grocery store items, surround-sound system and a Coach purse.

Kline apparently got away with the purchases for so long because he would send the expense reports by email to the wrong supervisor and receive immediate approval.

It was only when he was eventually questioned by a new supervisor did his employer realize what occurred, court records said.

Investigators said Kline appeared remorseful for what he was accused of doing but said it was so easy to get away with that he didn’t stop.

He had not been arrested as of Thursday evening.