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Ex-court employee pleads to theft charge

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A former Bartholomew County court reporter originally charged with five counts of theft will not have to serve time behind bars.

Gail Povaleri agreed to plead guilty to one count of theft, a Class D felony. As part of a plea-bargain agreement, four felony counts were dropped and her 18-month sentence was suspended.

Povaleri, 63, was accused in a bill of information filed by Bartholomew County Prosecutor Bill Nash of submitting false claims that led to her being paid for transcripts of criminal hearings that she never typed or submitted to Indiana appellate courts as required.

The missing transcripts involved appeals or requests for post-conviction reviews by a half-dozen defendants in cases dating as far back as 1998.

The most recent instances of Povaleri being paid for work that was never done occurred between 2009 and 2011, the bill of information says.

Nash said he was unaware of any lawsuits or other repercussions against the county in regard to Povaleri’s deception.

“I would think that before any civil lawsuit could be successful, the affected party would have to have exhausted all of his or her administrative avenues of relief, such as filing a motion to get another appeal as a result of their original appeal being dismissed for lack of a transcript,” Nash said.

Povaleri, who worked more than two decades for former Superior Court I Judge Chris Monroe, resigned in summer 2012 after questions were raised about whether she actually had typed a number of the documents.

She was arrested by the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department in October and charged with five counts of theft from a county government account.

Special Judge Judith A. Stewart agreed to the terms of the plea agreement during a court hearing last week.

The Brown County judge agreed to preside over the case to avoid any possible conflict of interest involving local judges who might have had official interaction with the defendant.

Povaleri, who was accused of collecting $3,972 that she didn’t do, agreed to pay $4,942 in restitution before her probation ends. That amount includes various court fees and expenses.

If she successfully pays the money back on time, the charge will be reduced from a felony to a Class A misdemeanor on her record, court records state.

Court records indicate Povaleri, who has moved to the Lafayette area, will be under the jurisdiction of the Tippecanoe County Probation Department.

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