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West Brownsville tax collector charged with $115,000 theft

| Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, 1:30 p.m.

West Brownsville tax collector Cindy L. Lacey was charged with theft on Wednesday, after allegedly admitting she stole more than $115,000 in borough funds.

Washington County District Attorney Eugene A. Vittone said Lacey, 58, of 619 River St., was charged following an investigation by county detectives.

Lacey was arraigned on a single felony count of theft by failure to make required disposition of funds before District Judge Joshua Kanalis of West Brownsville.

Her attorney, Herbert G. Mitchell Jr. of Hiller, could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

County officials in September contacted a private accounting firm to audit the borough's tax collector account, Detective James A. McElhaney said in an affidavit.

The completed audit covered tax years 2005 through 2011, McElhaney said.

Results revealed a total of $115,940.36 was missing from those tax years, he said.

During the investigation, “it was determined that the only individual permitted to remove funds from the tax collector account was (Lacey),” McElhaney wrote.

Lacey served as the borough tax collector from 2002 through May 2012, he said.

While being questioned on Nov. 28, McElhaney said, Lacey provided a written statement admitting responsibility for the theft.

Lacey waived her charges to court following a preliminary hearing Wednesday, according to Kanalis' office.

She was placed in the Washington County prison in lieu of $115,000 cash bond.

Messages left with council members Wednesday were not immediately returned.

Mary Pickels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-5401 or mpickels@tribweb.com.

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