Former Bellaire water clerk in court on suspect theft - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

Former Bellaire water clerk in court on suspect theft of utility bills

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BELMONT COUNTY -

Former Bellaire Water Clerk, Lisa Flaherty appeared in a Belmont County courtroom in front of Magistrate Amy Busic Thursday for arraignment on charges of theft and record tampering.

Flaherty, 38, was arrested in June of this year on three charges: a third degree felony of tampering with evidence; a third degree felony of theft in office; and a forth degree felony of tampering with records.

WTRF.com first reported the Ohio Auditor of State began investigating a suspected theft from utility bill payments in April, around the time Flaherty disappeared from Bellaire.

The Auditor of State's Athens Regional Office was first contacted on April 6, 2012 with information on suspected theft of utility payments according to state officials. The following day, water utility information on the village's computer system disappeared, and the then-Village Water Clerk Lisa Flaherty failed to report to work.

Investigators with the Auditors of States Office worked with Belmont County authorities to track down Flaherty, who was later found and arrested in Broome County, New York.

According to court officials, Flaherty is charged with two counts of tampering with evidence, one count of theft in office and one count of tampering with records. She entered a plea of not guilty on all four counts. Her bond remains set at $500,000 from her arrest in June.

Flaherty remains in the Belmont County Jail and her pre-trial date is scheduled for Oct. 9 with the actual trial starting on Nov. 1. Prosecutors and Flaherty's defense attorneys have until Oct. 22 to reach a plea agreement. Judge Jennifer Sargus will hear the case.