JACKSON TOWNSHIP — A former secretary-treasurer is accused of stealing nearly $175,000 in township funds.

Linda Lou Baun, 71, of 20 N. Foster Road, Jackson Township, was charged Thursday by state police with theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received, access-device fraud, tampering with records or identification, misapplication of entrusted property and property of government or financial institutions, and two counts of theft by deception.

She was arraigned Thursday by District Judge D. Neil McEwen, Pine Township, and released without bond under her own recognizance.

Her preliminary hearing is set for 10 a.m. July 15 before McEwen.

According to a criminal complaint, police received information on Feb. 28 from Mercer County District Attorney Peter Acker that detailed financial transactions for Jackson Township.

Richard Tice, a certified public accountant with McCall Scanlon & Tice LLC, reviewed the township’s records, which indicate that Baun made multiple unauthorized ATM cash withdrawals and point-of-sale purchases using the township’s debit card between 2011 and 2019, while she was secretary-treasurer.

Township officials retained the accounting firm to review spending records to look for evidence of potential misappropriation of funds.

Jackson Township Supervisor George McIntire said, according to the criminal complaint, that there were no receipts for the point-of-sale purchases. A message left for McIntire was not immediately returned.

Supervisors confirmed that there was no legitimate reason for Baun’s ATM cash withdrawals, police said in the criminal complaint.

Police obtained search warrants for Baun’s personal bank accounts, online retailers and banks. Based on that information, investigators determined that Baun withdrew more than $170,000 with the township’s bank card.

Video images showed Baun using the card to withdraw cash. Each withdrawal transaction was under $500, which police said was meant to deceive township supervisors.

She also made multiple purchases of more than $3,000, and falsified township records in an effort to conceal her spending, according to the criminal complaint.

Police said Baun bought a personalized graduation keychain online and entered the transaction into township records as “lights and plugs.” Baun recorded the ATM withdrawals for record-keeping items, ink and printer cartridges, and computer software.

Baun said some of the ATM withdrawals were used to pay students for work she had been assigned, police said in the criminal complaint. Baun said she asked a township supervisor for approval to hire the students. The request was denied, but Baun said she proceeded to employ the students.

Police said Baun refused to name the students she claimed to have hired and she did not keep employment records — including names, addresses, Social Security numbers, hours worked and amounts paid — for the students. The failure to maintain records of the students’ employment is a violation of federal, state and local withholding laws relating to payroll taxes.

Baun admitted to using some of the ATM cash for personal uses, including paying for medicine and her own bills, police said.

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