Former Nelsonville official pleads guilty to stealing: prosecutor wants $200k, plus jail time

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The City of Nelsonville and regional jail are exploring a van to take released inmates to their home counties.

NELSONVILLE, Ohio (WCMH) — A former deputy auditor in Nelsonville has pleaded guilty to theft in office and may face prison time as well as a restitution of $200,000.

Stephanie Wilson, 47, of Stewart, stood before the Athens County Common Pleas Court on December 17 and pleaded guilty to theft-related charges during her service as City of Nelsonville’s deputy auditor. Wilson held the post for eight years, from 2012 until resigning in February of 2020.

According to a release from the Athens County Prosecuting Attorney, Keller J. Blackburn, Wilson is accused of manipulating payroll as means of defrauding the city. She pleaded guilty to four felonies: tampering with records; forgery; telecommunications fraud; and theft in office.

A conviction on the theft in office charge means Wilson may need to forfeit her Ohio Public Employees Retirement System funds, Blackburn said.

“I’m grateful to the investigators for the work they’ve put into gathering the evidence that has led to these findings of guilt. I also appreciate the work of the State Auditor and look forward to arguing for a lengthy prison sentence and presenting a case for recovery of more than $200,000 Stephanie Wilson has taken from the city of Nelsonville,” Blackburn said in the release.

The charges hold a maximum prison sentence of nine years with a $30,000 fine and the state asserts that restitution is more than $200,000. The defense will argue for a lower restitution amount and punishment.

In addition to the funds stolen, restitution could also include costs to investigate the case as determined by the State Auditor, the release said.

Sentencing and restitution in this case will be heard on February 17 at 9:30 a.m.

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