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Former tax clerk accused of stealing

By From staff reports

A former Fayette County deputy tax clerk is facing charges after a surprise audit revealed she had taken money from her drawer.

Fayette Sheriff Steve Kessler said a surprise internal audit conducted Feb. 12 in the Sheriff's Tax Office showed that one of the deputy tax clerks' drawers was short $150. An investigation was initiated immediately. The clerk, identified as Patricia Ann Walker, 52, of Oak Hill, resigned hours later.

Criminal charges were filed against Walker, who worked at the tax office for six years without incident, Kessler said. A misdemeanor charge of embezzlement and a felony charge of falsifying accounts were filed Tuesday.

Kessler said his staff, working with the state Auditor's Office, established various safeguards and procedures to prevent and detect when money is taken. He said this was done following previous problems in the tax office.

"I am pleased to say that these procedures are working," Kessler said in a release. "This theft was quickly detected and reported and appropriate enforcement action was taken."

He commended Chief Tax Deputy Ronda Falk and Assistant Chief Tax Deputy Trina Blackburn, supervisors in the tax office, for their diligence.

"Although the amount of money stolen in this incident was relatively small, any level of theft is inappropriate and will not be tolerated," Kessler said. "We take our duty to guard the public's funds entrusted to the Tax Office very seriously."

Walker has not yet been taken into custody. Kessler said deputies were working with her to make arrangements for her to turn herself in.



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