JOCO Prosecutor: Court clerk stole more than $100K - KCTV5

JOCO Prosecutor: Court clerk stole more than $100K

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Fabiola Cruz Fabiola Cruz
MERRIAM, KS (KCTV) -

Johnson County Prosecutor Steve Howe has filed a charge of embezzlement against the former top clerk of the Merriam Municipal Court.

The prosecutor says Fabiola E. Cruz stole more than $100,000 from the city.

In addition to the embezzlement charge, four charges of computer crime were filed against Cruz.

Cruz's daughter defended her mother in an interview with KCTV5's Heather Staggers.

"It's a stupid conspiracy," said Fabiola Cruz, who shares the same name as her mother. "She was arrested because of an accusation that's false."

In a news release, the city of Merriam said officials completed an internal audit that discovered numerous discrepancies related to the collection of court fines. City Administrator Phil Lammers said the fines were paid properly but the Cruz diverted the funds from city coffers.

"It's always unsettling when you have an employee whose conduct and behavior has been called into question," Lammers told Staggers.

"The city of Merriam would like to assure its citizens that an evaluation of the cash management procedures has been conducted and changes have been made and will continue to be implemented to help prevent this type of theft from occurring again," according to a news release from the city.

In a statement, Lammers said, "City staff takes the citizens' trust for responsibility of public money very seriously. "

The city is seeking restitution through the legal system. In addition, the city has turned over the case to its insurance carrier for coverage of employee theft.

Cruz resigned last year. Lammers told KCTV5's Heather Staggers that authorities could not say how long that Cruz, who joined the city in 2002, had been allegedly embezzling. She resigned last September for personal reasons, her daughter said.

"I am so tired of this. So tired. This is tearing my family apart," Fabiola Cruz said about the agony her mother and her family are enduring.

Cruz is being held in the jail on a $100,000 bond.

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