POMEROY — The former fiscal officer for the Village of Rutland plead guilty on Monday morning to one count of grand theft in office.
Laura L. Curtis, 30, was indicted in February by a Meigs County Grand Jury on a charge of grand theft in office — an offense that occurred while Curtis was employed as the fiscal officer for the Village of Rutland.
The original indictment stated that Curtis, as fiscal officer (a public official), committed a theft offense while using her office in the committing of the offense and took property belonging to the village. The indictment states the value of the property or services involved is between $7,500 and $150,000.
The offense occurred between 2009 and August 4, 2011.
Curtis, represented by Ohio Public Defender David Baer, plead guilty to the charge in Meigs County Common Pleas Court. Curtis admitted during Monday’s hearing to taking cash from the village during her time as the clerk. A plea bargain on the sentence was not reached between the parties, with each side to argue sentencing at a later date.
The prosecution is likely to ask for prison time and restitution, while the defense could argue for community control. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 36 months in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Judge Christopher Tenoglia set sentencing for 10:30 a.m. on August 20.
According to the incident report completed by the Rutland Police Department, it was estimated that Curtis allegedly took $50,000 from the village.
In August 2011, the village council requested Police Chief Steve Williams look into the mayor’s court cases. Upon investigation, it was found that 10 cases had been dismissed, half of which Mayor Lowell Vance did not remember dismissing, according to the report. Three of the cases that had been dismissed had reportedly been paid with cash, with written receipts from Curtis to support the payment.
Further investigation found many discrepancies in the mayor’s court system all involving individuals who paid cash. Curtis was placed on administrative leave without pay while the investigation continued.
Williams stated that an agent from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation took part in two interviews between himself and Curtis. The police chief further reported that Curtis was cooperative in the interviews. The money was reportedly taken from the Village of Rutland’s Mayors Court accounts and other village accounts.
Curtis was appointed to the position of fiscal officer for the Village of Rutland on June 10, 2008, according to council minutes.