Nancy E. Link, 38, of Mentor, was indicted by the Geauga County Grand Jury after an investigation into discrepancies in the City's water and sewer accounts, according to Chardon Police Chief Scott Niehus and Geauga County Prosecutor James Flaiz.
Officials said Link's employment as Chardon's water and sewer billing clerk was terminated on March 2 when the theft was confirmed.
Link was indicted by the Geauga County Grand Jury on one count of theft in office, two counts of tampering with records, and one count of money laundering. All charges were felonies of the third-degree, carrying a maximum potential sentence of 36 months in prison. The indictment stated the crimes occurred from Jan. 15, 2014 to Feb. 26, 2016.
"Investigation into this matter has revealed the discrepancies dating back to 2010, however, due to the extremely complex nature of the scheme to defraud, the investigation is ongoing. Under Ohio law, it was necessary to bring an indictment within 90 days of the defendant's termination from employment in order to freeze her public retirement accounts so that they can be made available for restitution. Therefore, I requested that Chief Niehus forward the investigation to our office for presentment to the Grand Jury concerning the thefts that occurred during the last two years. Once a final accounting has been completed, I expect that we will seek additional charges," Flaiz said.
"The police department is working with the finance director and a forensic accounting firm to examine every transaction conducted by Ms. Link during her nine years of employment. I am confident that we will be able to account for all the missing money so that we are in a position to quantify the total loss for purposes of seeking restitution and coverage from the City's insurance carrier."
Link was scheduled to be arraigned before Judge Forrest Burt on June 10 at 8:30 a.m. in the Geauga County Court of Common Pleas.