Former Bethany Worker Arrested

Former Bethany College employee Shelly Lough turned herself in to law enforcement Tuesday night on allegations she embezzled more than $500,000 from the school.

Lough, of West Liberty, turned herself in at the Brooke County Sheriff’s Department at about 7 p.m. Tuesday. Magistrate Linda Viderman arraigned her on charges of embezzlement and falsifying accounts. Lough posted bond at court and was released. A preliminary hearing was not immediately set.

Because Lough turned herself in after business hours, court filings detailing how she allegedly embezzled the funds from the college were not immediately available.

Lough managed the college’s cashier’s office, and according to a statement from Bethany College President Scott Miller, the thefts came from a cash window where students and staff cashed payroll and personal checks.

Two Ohio residents are also targeted in the investigation. Brooke County Prosecutor Joe Barki said the alleged embezzlement is suspected to be a part of a larger criminal operation. It is not known if the investigation into those two suspects will be completed by the Nov. 4 grand jury.

Barki noted Lough was arrested before her case was presented to a grand jury because the investigation into her alleged crimes was completed.

The college discovered the missing money in May during an external audit. Officials suspected Lough and moved her to another position in the finance department. She continued to work, but did not have access to cash or financial accounts, Bethany Vice President Sven de Jong said.

Lough allegedly confessed to embezzling the funds in an interview with the school’s legal counsel and outside accountants about two months after the money was noticed to be missing, according to de Jong. Her employment immediately was terminated and the case was referred to Barki’s office.

The college’s director of finance also was fired for lack of financial oversight. He is not suspected of any crime.