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Pawnee County Woman Charged With Embezzling From Water District

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Elizabeth "Beth" King, 45, of Cleveland, is accused of taking more than $48,000 from Pawnee County Rural Water District No. 1. Elizabeth "Beth" King, 45, of Cleveland, is accused of taking more than $48,000 from Pawnee County Rural Water District No. 1.
PAWNEE COUNTY, Oklahoma -

A bookkeeper with Pawnee County Rural Water District No. 1 has been charged with embezzling more than $48,000 from the organization.

According to court documents, Elizabeth "Beth" King, 45, of Cleveland, admitted she embezzled the money by using direct deposit to a personal bank account from June 2012 to December 2012.

King was arrested and booked into the Pawnee County Jail on Thursday and was released on $10,000 bond on Friday.

An arrest warrant affidavit filed June 17 says the sheriff's office began investigating after an auditor was told embezzlement was a possibility. The auditor told the water district it needed to alert authorities about the suspected criminal activity, court documents say.

In a written statement to authorities, president of the water board David Smith said he received a call on April 28 from former board member and current district manager Richard Rogers. Rogers reportedly said King confessed to him she took money from the district.

An emergency meeting was called the next day, and King "spoke and apologized for her actions in taking the money. … she offered to pay $5,000 now and that she was willing to pay the money back," the affidavit says.

Armed with a search warrant filed in Pawnee County District Court, investigators obtained minutes from the meeting, executive session and an audio recording of the meeting taken by Smith.

In an interview conducted at the sheriff's department, King reportedly told investigators she took $48,500 and, when presented with paperwork detailing the deposits, agreed she completed each of those transactions.

Rural Water District No. 1 services about 500 customers along the Keystone Lake area in Cleveland.

King's next scheduled court date is July 2.

Felony embezzlement of more than $25,000 is punishable in Oklahoma by up to 10 years in the state penitentiary, a $10,000 fine and restitution.

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