Former Tippecanoe Co. employee wanted for stealing more than $300K

(WISH Photo, file)

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — An arrest warrant was issued Friday for a Lafayette woman for allegedly stealing more than $324,000 from the Tippecanoe County Clerk’s Office over a 10-year period.

Kerri Smith, 50, is a former employee of the clerk’s office. Court documents state over the course of 10 years, from 2005-2014, Smith stole $324,687.54. The Tippecanoe County Prosecutor’s Office has charged her with theft.

Employees at the clerk’s office were the first people to report the crime. Employees told police Smith was responsible for depositing money into the bank, and she was in charge of juvenile receipts, which are more confidential than regular clerk receipts.

Court documents also state eyewitnesses said she wasn’t following office protocol, specifically not documenting receipts when she received money. Apparently, Clerk Christa Coffey confronted Smith about her cash drawer not being balanced. Employees also said she always seemed to have cash on hand, even though she was going through financial difficulties.

Evidence later showed check drawers were not balanced and some funds were not receipted. There were also discrepancies found between record deposits and actual bank deposits. Evidence was allegedly located that Smith wrote and deposited checks to herself – including two large checks for $46,820 and $112,024.32.

According to court documents, Smith admitted guilt about the missing money, first to Coffey by saying, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry I let you down,” without any efforts to dispute her termination. Police say Smith also admitted stealing the money twice to her husband – the first, on the way home from being fired, and the second time during their divorce proceedings.

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