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Cops: Staffer accused of bilking clients

LAWRENCEVILLE -- A former staffer at a Norcross payroll company is accused of defrauding her employer's clients out of almost $70,000.

Tomika Renee Hickman, 39, of Duluth was an employee of Directo -- "the service leader in providing customized prepaid payment and pay card programs" -- when she reportedly began pilfering money last September.

Using her access to company accounts and pay cards (essentially prepaid debit cards that are distributed to employers who issue them instead of paychecks), Hickman reportedly took money from the accounts of several different Directo clients. She then placed them onto pay cards for her own use, police said, before "withdrawing these funds through several ATMs" in the metro Atlanta area.

According to police reports, management at Directo first fired Hickman and agreed not to press charges upon her vow to repay the roughly $7,700 then thought to be missing.

Management later discovered she had "possibly stolen $24,911," police said in a report written earlier this month. Warrants issued prior to Hickman's arrest on Wednesday put the sum of her alleged crimes at $69,369.

Gwinnett County Jail records show Hickman was charged with theft by taking and credit card fraud, both felonies, before being released Thursday on $77,400 bond.