Upon review of additional evidence, officials confirmed new charges have been filed against a rural Clay County woman allegedly involved in missing funds at a local trucking company.
Originally charged with one class C felony forgery and five class D felony theft charges in January, Sonya M. Stroud, 40, Brazil, was formally charged with six more class C felony forgery allegations in Clay Superior Court on Monday.
Stroud was booked into the Clay County Justice Center after the Brazil City Police Department concluded a six-month investigation into approximately $280,000 in missing funds at Brazil Trucking, Inc.
According to paperwork filed with the Clay County Prosecutor's Office, Stroud allegedly exerted "unauthorized control" over more than 100 company checks used to repay expenses incurred by over-the-road truckers without the permission or knowledge of her employer during a 10-year period.
Apparently the checks were made out to fictitious names and Stroud allegedly signed and cashed the checks as if she were that person at an area truck stop. She would then allegedly enter the false transactions in the company's books as if it were a legitimate expense.
Since none of the "comp" checks could be written for an amount greater then $3,000, authorities estimated it would take at least 100 or more checks to total the amount of missing funds.
Due to statute of limitations, some of the transactions were not charged. However, officials confirmed the amount of missing funds is approximately $500,000.
During previous court proceedings, officials have said each of the separate incidents, which allegedly date back to January 2004, could potentially be an individual charge.
On April 6, a negotiated plea agreement between the prosecutor's office and defense attorney Roscoe Stovall was entered in court on behalf of Stroud.
Citing it was too lenient and there was no criteria or time schedule in place for the defendant to make restitution repayment, Clay Superior Court Judge Blaine Akers turned down the plea agreement after reviewing the probable cause report in the case. He said he felt the magnitude of the criminal behavior and the impact upon the community was underestimated.
"A local business has taken a serious hit," Akers said during the May 5 court proceedings. "They've had to take actions to stay afloat, which potentially led to the reduction of employees."
Officials at the Brazil City Police Department told The Brazil Times more charges are potentially possible as the investigation continues.
Due to the new charges, Akers vacated the upcoming jury trial scheduled for Dec. 14. Instead, an initial hearing about the new charges will take place and a new jury trial will be scheduled following the court proceedings.