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Former Redstone sewage authorities manager charged with theft

| Friday, Jan. 22, 2010

A Greene County woman is accused of taking $129,945 from two sewage authorities during her tenure as manager of one of them.

Lori Anne Rankin, 28, of 123 Pump Station Road, Greensboro, is charged by the state police Organized Crime Force with two counts each of theft by unlawful taking and theft by deception.

In a criminal complaint, police allege Rankin took $93,342 from Redstone Township Sewage Authority and $36,603 from the neighboring Colonial Joint Sewage Authority between Aug. 1, 2004, and April 30, 2007.

At the time, Rankin was employed as manager of the Redstone authority, which had an agreement with Colonial to collect its customer payments. Rankin's duties included billing customers, collecting and posting payments and remitting payments to the bank.

According to the complaint, another unidentified employee began investigating after customers complained that their payment checks were not cashed in a timely fashion. In addition, the other employee found customer receipts in an office paper shredder and noted that Rankin was frequently absent from work.

The employee notified the chairman of the Redstone authority, Richard Strogran, after discovering that after Rankin made bank deposits, records detailing cash-payment amounts were missing from the deposits.

After the authority placed Rankin on leave, she allegedly told Strogran she had taken money, according to the complaint. During an interview with police, she allegedly indicated "she stole between $3,000 and $4,000 a month from the authorities," it said.

Rankin told police the stolen money was in the form of cash payments that had been made to both authorities, according to the affidavit. She disputed having taken as much as $129,945, a figure arrived at by a forensic auditor hired by the authorities.

Charges were filed in November. Rankin faces a preliminary hearing 10 a.m. Monday before Redstone District Judge Michael A. Defino Jr.

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