Authorities await surrender of Pittsburg County court clerk

Tuesday, February 21st 2006, 9:49 am
By: News On 6

McALESTER, Okla. (AP) _ A court clerk has been accused of diverting money from two court funds and filing false reimbursement claims, allegedly to pay for gambling.

Linda Price Williams has been suspended as Pittsburg County court clerk and has been charged with embezzlement and forgery, prosecutors said Monday. She was expected to turn herself in.

Williams, 53, of Hartshorne, is facing 20 counts of second-degree forgery and one count of embezzlement by a county officer.

She is accused of diverting money and using a photocopy of Judge Thomas M. Bartheld's signature to falsify and increase travel claims, according to a probable cause affidavit signed by John Jones, an Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation agent.

Twenty claims from April 2005 to January 2006 totaling approximately $12,000 appeared to have been altered, said Jimmy Harmon, first assistant district attorney.

Williams was suspended last week after a petition for her removal from office was filed with the court.

Williams confessed to authorities she took the money for gambling, court records show. She blamed her failing marriage and a stressful working relationship with Bartheld for her gambling and for taking the money, the affidavit says.