A trial date was set for Rhonda Smalley, the former Highland County Commissioners clerk charged with misuse of a credit card and theft in office, during an initial pretrial hearing Thursday in Highland County Common Pleas Court.
Judge Rocky Coss set the final pretrial in the case for April 25 and a trial for May 7.
A Bill of Particulars filed March 20 with the court alleges that from July 28, 2017 through Nov. 12, 2017, Smalley used county controlled credit cards to make purchases or charges totaling $2,845.22.
The bill says that on Dec. 7, 2017, Commissioner Shane Wilkin called Smalley to confront her about the unapproved use of credit cards, and that Smalley chose to resign when confronted.
After waiving her Miranda warnings, Smalley admitted that she used the cards without permission, the bill of particulars says.
“Smalley stated that she used the Wal-Mart card at the Hillsboro Wal-Mart to purchase groceries. Smalley admitted that she used the Lowe’s card on several occasions at the Hillsboro Lowe’s. Smalley advised that she was remodeling a home and ran out of money, and that she planned to pay it back,” the bill says. “Smalley advised that she knew she was not permitted to use the cards in the way she was.”
A Fifth Third Bank card showed a gas purchase on Aug. 23, 2017 for $22.19 at Speedway, according to the bill.
A Wal-Mart credit card showed 2017 purchases on Aug. 22 for $11.98 and $156.05, on Aug. 23 for $5.70 and on Nov. 12 for $198.81, the bill says.
A Lowe’s credit account showed 2017 charges on July 28 for $183.33, on Aug. 18 for $538.87, on Aug. 25 for $253.57, on Aug. 31 for $34.39, on Sept. 12 for $579.65, on Oct. 27 for $416.67, on Nov. 3 for $378.90, and on Nov. 12 for $65.11, according to the bill.
The bill says it was found that several items were delivered to Smalley’s home in Peebles. It also says that one of the receipt of delivery signatures was Smalley’s.
The misuse of a credit card charge is a fifth-degree felony and the theft in office charge is a fourth-degree felony.
The maximum penalty for Smalley’s charges is 18 months in prison, Highland County Prosecuting Attorney Anneka Collins previously told The Times-Gazette, although according to House Bill 86, if it is found she has no prior criminal record, she will likely be put on probation.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or [email protected]