Court date set for former Jennings County employee accused of theft, forgery

VERNON — A trial date for a former Jennings County deputy clerk and auditor facing 46 felony charges including theft and forgery has been set for mid-summer.

Cathy Jo Robertson, 40, of 405 S. Mark St., North Vernon, is tentatively scheduled to stand trial Aug. 1, beginning at 9 a.m., before Jennings Circuit Court Judge Jonathan W. Webster.

The defendant waived her right to have an initial hearing that was scheduled for Monday, and the trial date was determined by Webster, court records state.

Authorities started investigating Robertson in 2013 when an audit of the county’s clerk and auditor’s offices determined funds went missing and unauthorized checks were issued when she worked as a deputy for both offices.

The investigation determined the defendant stole more than $61,000 from the clerk’s office between January 2009 and April 2011, and more than $3,500 from the auditor’s office from July to October 2013, according to a press release from the Indiana State Police.

After the state police investigation was concluded by detective Tim Denby, it was turned over to the office of Jennings County Prosecutor Brian J. Belding, the release stated.

As a result, Robertson was formally charged Jan. 21 with 37 counts of theft as Class D felonies and nine counts of forgery as Class C felonies.

On that same day, Robertson turned herself in at the Jennings County Jail.

Later that evening, she posted a $2,555 cash bond, court records state.

If convicted, Robertson could be sentenced to 33 to 183 years behind bars, as well as ordered to pay fines of up to $460,000.

However, in many cases of this nature, a defendant is often given a suspended or reduced sentence in exchange for their agreement to pay the money back over a long period of time.

The Robertson case is the latest in a series of white-collar crimes allegedly committed by high-profile public officials in Jennings County.

Robertson’s arrest came five months after former North Vernon City Utilities manager Robin Jones was charged in August with theft and misconduct by a public official. Jones is scheduled to stand trial in Webster’s court on April 4.

A year earlier, former Jennings County Fair Board official Amy K. Williams was accused of stealing $40,000 in fair board funds during her three years as secretary-treasurer.

As part of a plea agreement, Williams pleaded guilty to one felony count of theft as a Class D felony, and received a suspended two-year sentence in December 2014.

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Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.