Former clerk charged with theft10:00 am | May 24, 2013
In the wake of felony charges lodged against a former clerk of the Watauga River Regional Water Authority/North Elizabethton Water District, the organization’s new director said safeguards have since been put in place to prevent the mishandling of public funds.
Lori Beth Feaster turned herself in to authorities last Wednesday after a Carter County grand jury indicted her on charges of theft over $10,000, fraudulent use of a credit card, official misconduct and forgery.
The charges allege she stole more than $44,000 from the utility.
The charges stem from an investigation by the state comptroller’s office that claims Feaster wrote checks to herself from the agency’s bank account, took money from cash deposits and used the utility’s credit card to charge personal items, misappropriating $44,174 between July 1, 2010, and Dec. 31, 2011.
Bryon Trantham, the WRRWA’s director since former director Michael Hughes’ resignation in February 2012, said inconsistencies in a financial audit of the utility’s funds prompted the board of directors to report the problems to the comptroller.
“The board gave full disclosure to their office,” Trantham said. “Everyone cooperated with the in-depth study and the report.”