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Former township clerk sentenced: probation, no jail

FPS staff report

A former Augusta Twp. fiscal officer, who has been convicted of stealing approximately $25,000 in township funds, has been ordered to repay the stolen money – but is not going to jail or prison.

At a hearing Jan. 31 Darla K. Murray, also known as Darla K. Underwood, also known as Darla K. Turnipseed, 43, of 4 Apache Trail, Malvern, was ordered by Carroll County Common Pleas Court Judge Dominick E. Olivito Jr. to make restitution in the amount of $24,836.24 within 12 months.

The order was among 18 conditions contained in a five-year community control (probation) under which Murray was placed by the Judge who suspended a concurrent prison sentence of 17 months on the nine 4th degree felony convictions and 11 months on the 21 5th degree felony convictions.

The Judge also informed the defendant that a violation of any condition of her sentence shall lead to a more restrictive sanction, a longer sanction or an aggregate prison term of up to 17 months.

The sentence was imposed as a result of plea negotiations when Murray withdrew her former not guilty plea to the Nov. 7, 2012, indictment and entered guilty pleas to each of the nine 4th degree and 21 5th degree felony charges contained in the indictment.

According to Carroll County Prosecuting Attorney Donald R. Burns Jr., Murray removed township funds for personal gain between 2009 and 2011 while working in the capacity of fiscal officer for Augusta Township.

Auditors discovered irregularities in the township’s accounts during the township’s regular audit. Andrew Bodzak, investigator for the state auditor’s office, investigated the case on behalf of the Auditor of State’s Special Investigation Unit.

Between 2009 and 2011 it was found Turnipseed (as she was known then) forged signatures, falsified records and used public funds to pay personal expenses. She was appointed as Augusta Twp. fiscal officer July 6, 2004, and served in that capacity through the end of 2011. She has since moved to Lake Mohawk.

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