WHEELING - The former treasurer for the Ohio County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals stands accused of embezzling more than $14,000 from the agency over a two-year period.
Mary Ellison, 62, of Bridgeport was arraigned Aug. 2 on one count of felony embezzlement. She remains free on $15,000 bond while awaiting an Aug. 22 preliminary hearing in Ohio County Magistrate Court.
Ellison was serving as treasurer during a two-year period, beginning in December 2009, in which she allegedly made out checks to herself from the SPCA's bank account, a report states. She then altered the bank statements to make it appear the checks had been written to legitimate vendors.
In total, Ellison allegedly cashed 10 checks on the nonprofit agency's account worth $14,360.
Ellison resigned May 10 when confronted about the financial discrepancy. She subsequently deposited two checks, each worth $3,500, into the SPCA bank account.
The Ohio County Sheriff's Department launched an investigation last month after SPCA board members reported an internal audit revealed several agency checks had been written without the supporting invoices. Once investigators obtained accurate bank statements, it was determined the checks were made out to Ellison, a report states.
Ellison reportedly admitted to committing the crime during an interview with Ohio County sheriff's detective Lt. Joe Cuchta.
A warrant for Ellison's arrest was filed July 19 in Ohio County Magistrate Court. Ellison was served with that warrant Aug. 2.
Phone calls to the SPCA seeking comment were not returned Friday.
If convicted, Ellison faces one to 10 years in prison.