2 former sheriff's office employees charged with embezzlement - WNCN: News, Weather

2 former sheriff's office employees charged with embezzlement

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GREENVILLE, N.C. - Two former employees with the Pitt County Sheriff's Office turned themselves in after warrants for their arrest were issued.

60-year-old Evon Garris of Ayden is charged with 14 counts of embezzlement and 40-year old Melissa Peaden of Winterville is charged with 12 counts of embezzlement.

Deputies say the investigation started when the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office found discrepancies in the civil processing receipts. The State Bureau of Investigations was contacted and immediately took over the investigation.  
The SBI found two long-time employees had taken money received in the front office of the PCSO in payment for civil services.   

A grand jury indicted Garris and Peaden on November 12.

"Individuals who paid for concealed weapon permits received the permits for which they had paid and individuals received the other services for which they had remitted payment," said Sheriff Neil Elks.  "The victim in this case was the sheriff's office itself."

Garris and Peaden were both civilian employees of the sheriff’s office.  Garris had been employed from September, 1986 until June, 2001.  She was rehired in September, 2002 until June, 2013.  Peaden had been employed from July, 2009 until June, 2013.  

Both resigned immediately.

Tuesday afternoon 9 On Your Side went to their house to hear their side of the story---but no one came to the door.

However neighbors had plenty to say...

“You're supposed to be setting an example for everyone. You can almost see it happening a McDonalds or at a fast food place, but to do it at the sheriff's office, that's shocking,” Temira Callahan said.

At the sheriff's office Sheriff Elks was clearly disappointed.“Well what's very sad to me is that we trusted them,” Elks said.

Warrants for their arrest say they stole anywhere from $15 to $5,200 at a time. In total, Peaden stole $4,284 while Garris stole $18,664.

“It wasn't done during the same time. We went back years and looked at the audit trail,” Elks said.

The Sheriff now assures us this will never happen again. 
“We've changed the way we handle our money. We've changed our paper trail and we've changed the way it's been done for many year,” Elks said.

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