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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Former clerk appears in court

Monday, March 7, 2011

(Photo)
Tracy Webster
By IVY JACOBS

Times Staff Reporter

A former Brazil Clerk-Treasurer appeared in court Monday to be formally charged with allegations of mismanagement of public funds.

Tracy Webster, 43, Brazil, appeared before Clay Superior Court Judge Blaine Akers to be formally charged with one class C felony Forgery and three charges of class D felony Theft.

On Monday, Webster, who will be hiring her own attorney, entered a not guilty plea.

Akers set a tentative jury trial for June 6.

Webster remains out on bond while awaiting further court proceedings.

Webster served as Clerk-Treasurer from August 2004-December 2007, then as Deputy Clerk until December 2008.

According to the probable cause affidavit on file at the Clay County Courthouse, the investigation began July 27, 2010, when an auditor with the Indiana State Board of Accounts noticed inconsistencies totaling more than $9,000 during an annual audit of the City of Brazil. Believing the audit showed signs of criminal intent, the Indiana State Police were contacted.

According to the probable cause affidavit, by Aug. 5, the auditor found and presented officials with inconsistencies totaling $11,036.60, divided into six transactions involving a vendor known as TriStar and sections labeled Payroll, Handwritten Checks and others under vendor listing, miscellaneous and prior report.

According to the report, the TriStar vendor account, which no one currently employed at Brazil City Hall was able to identify who or what the business was or its relevance to the city, had no address, contact number or person provided in the information. Officials were initially unable to locate the business.

However, the report stated it appeared the vendor number was originally set up in Webster's name and then later changed in an effort to disguise unauthorized or illegitimate transactions in the account.

The report stated officials confirmed a total of eight checks were printed under he vendor TriStar and they were all payable to Tracy Webster.

Three of the checks were determined as potentially being legitimate and the SBOA decided not to pursue those transactions.

The probable cause affidavit also stated the TriStar account had been inactive until Nov. 9, 2009. At that time, the system shows that (current Brazil City Clerk-Treasurer Karen McQueen) changed the account to active.

According to the report, in the Payroll section, Webster allegedly issued to herself and cashed two payroll checks in addition to receiving direct deposits from the same account on April 8 and June 6, 2008. While the city records indicate both direct deposits were credited back, bank records do not reflect this. Bank records allegedly show that the checks were cashed and deposited into her personal account.

In regard to the Handwritten Checks section, the probable cause affidavit stated three handwritten checks were provided by SBOA to investigators, including:

* One check made out to MCC (Menard's Check Collection) for $1,130.92 (Aug. 7, 2007),

* A second one made out to Visa for $4,809.21 (Jan. 9, 2007). Officials confirmed the Visa check was not used to credit the City of Brazil's only Visa card account. Attempts to trace the check back to the city or elsewhere after such a long period of time have been fruitless at this time due to bank records not being available. However, during the investigation, officials were provided legitimate reasons for each transaction on the card from Brazil City Police Department Assistant Chief Mark Loudermilk. and

* A third check made out to Sears for $871 (Jan. 2, 2007). This third transaction was later determined legitimate and the SBOA decided not to pursue it.

During the course of the investigation, the report stated officials believed the first check was used to pay a personal account.

The MCC check was allegedly used by Webster to cover a previously written bad check on a personal account, the report stated, to pay for items purchased at the Terre Haute store July 15, 2007. MCC officials provided information that Webster made arrangements to pay $200 a month toward the balance of the initial debt of $1,103. 42. MCC added a $27.50 fee for the bad check and then received the Brazil City check to pay the account in full Aug. 7.

Officials discussed the matter with Webster for the first time during a voluntary interview Sept. 21, 2010.

According to the report, officials allege Webster initially denied knowledge of the check made out to MCC, before admitting to using a personal check by accident from an account that had been closed.

As for the check made out to Visa, Webster said she did not have a personal card or had/has access to an account with the company of any kind.

According to the report, Webster alleged anyone could have logged onto the city computer, printed and stamped her name to cash the checks.

The report stated on Nov. 9, 2010, Webster agreed to a second interview at the Clay County Prosecutor's Office, citing what she felt was a lack of communication. Webster told investigators she had been receiving phone calls about some things from current city employees, claiming records were being destroyed and (people) were bragging (they) brought about the investigation and Webster had accepted $25,000 through unemployment benefits to keep her mouth shut.

Once again, Webster denied taking any money that she was not entitled to have.

In summary, the document reads, Webster said any money that she received was for vacation buy back, sick days buy back, insurance reimbursement or reimbursement for things she had bought for the city. According to the report, Webster said she didn't receive anything that she didn't think she was entitled to based on what she was told.

The case file, created by ISP investigators, was presented to the Clay County Prosecutor's Office Jan. 13, for further review.


Comments
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You can't get blood out of a turnip .. she filed bankruptcy, so no one will see that money again. Just put her in jail already.

-- Posted by Emmes on Tue, Mar 8, 2011, at 8:38 AM

It has become a trend for people to say they "made a mistake" or did something "by accident" when they have blatantly made a conscious choice to steal from someone else. They always seem to be sorry, but only after they are caught. Are they sorry they did it or sorry they got caught? We all are faced with 1,000 choices everyday to do right or to do wrong. Some people think they are so smart they can do wrong and not get caught. Which means they think the rest of us are so dumb.

-- Posted by Claycountian on Tue, Mar 8, 2011, at 10:15 AM

A rose is a rose is a rose; and a thief is a thief is a thief

-- Posted by Susan Paloma on Tue, Mar 8, 2011, at 10:49 AM

I don't understand how this can go on without any type of supervision by the mayor. This sounds like a classic cover-up and one is taking the fall for many. I hope the truth will eventually surface and that all involved will be removed from office.

-- Posted by cubbiefan on Tue, Mar 8, 2011, at 11:56 AM

I just sitting here and pondering a couple of thoughts.

I would think taking tax payers money, a full pay, while employed out of town full time for months, be considered stealing. I also feel taking $25,000 in unemployment, also tax payer money, while owing the city money, would be considered stealing.

Hope I am not off base with my thinking.

-- Posted by Tracy Jones on Tue, Mar 8, 2011, at 8:27 PM

If NO ONE knew who Tri Star was how did McQueen know how to reactivate it? Tri Star is the trucking company that parts are bought from in Indianapolis. If we are going to state facts lets tell the truth. Who authorized most of these transactions Tracy didn't have the authority. She is definately the fall gal for something but hopefully the truth will prevail very very soon. No sears, no visa, no Tri Star and the same charges as the mayor and McQueen. Did the mayor or McQueen get charged 6500.00 to pay back for the audit NO but Tracy did. People are innocent until proven guilty but in Tracy's case you have her hung by her neck and she hasn't even been convicted. I do hope the people that are framing her can sleep peacefully. Karma is not fun and it does come around. Funny they picked on her since she isn't there anymore. She filed bankruptcy with her husband of years gone by had nothing to do with this. Facts need to be correct before you start printing them. Seems that 2 people that are involved are really laying low on this and praying alot. Let's give Tracy and her 2 children the courtesy of innocent until proven guilty. The other 2 people involved in this are getting that why can't she?

-- Posted by concerned individual on Wed, Mar 9, 2011, at 6:23 AM

I want to know if in fact that documents were (are) being destroyed as alleged. Maybe she is trying to deflect some of the blame, but still this must be pursued. She should name names of those making those claims and they should be questioned.

Nothing about any of her actions sounds "accidental" to me.

-- Posted by ClayCountyGuy on Wed, Mar 9, 2011, at 8:20 AM

Last time I checked, The Mayors office and The Clerks office were two seperate offices, two seperate elected officials. It really gets old seeing people point the finger at our Mayor. If Tracy did take the money then the law will take care of that and she will pay for what wrong she has done. And if the police believed for one second, or had any evidence that Mayor Bradshaw or McQueen took any money they were not entitled too, then they WOULD be facing charges along with Mrs. Webster. But they ARE NOT facing criminal charges or even being investigated. If you don't like our Mayor or what she has done for us, then you should run for mayor or vote for her opponent, but there is no reason to smear her name on here. Mayor Bradshaw said she was totally honest in this whole situation and I believe her. And I do and will continue to support her.

-- Posted by Tabby on Wed, Mar 9, 2011, at 1:49 PM

The issue here is not if you like or dislike the mayor. The issue is that mayor Bradshaw is charged with overseeing day to day operations of the city. This includes the clerks office. Our mayor should have been much more proactive with this situation and had it investigated much sooner than now. I will never understand how budgets were passed and checks were written during this period and no one noticed any discrepancies. This is what concerns me.

-- Posted by cubbiefan on Wed, Mar 9, 2011, at 2:08 PM

I hate to disagree, however I don't believe the Mayor is overseer of the Clerk-Treasurer. They are both elected offices and the only one an elected official has to answer to is the voters.

What I am wondering is...Are they going to go after Tracy's bond?

-- Posted by Mumbler on Thu, Mar 10, 2011, at 4:00 PM

The mayor is ultimately charged with overseeing the day to day operations Mumbler. Please research what a mayor's responsibilities are within city government. Voters can elect who they want, but someone has to oversee those officials. I also agree that the mayor is not completely innocent in this situation.

-- Posted by cubbiefan on Thu, Mar 10, 2011, at 5:41 PM

I am not saying Tracy is innicent or guilty, but I do know that everyone that worked within the city hall building at anytime could have went in and written checks anytime they wanted. This has been going on for a long time. Where have you all been? Everyone talks in this town and it is not a secret. And, No, I do not work in the building and I never have. I think a more thorough investigation needs to be done. It would be awefull if she didn't do this or wasn't alone in doing this and takes the fall for everything. I don't beleive there is one rat but several rats within the city hall. I really hope the truth is found out. I've read the article and something is fishey and don't ring true. I am praying for the truth!!

-- Posted by some1ispraying on Wed, Mar 16, 2011, at 12:26 AM


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