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Township official arrested for embezzling $70,000 to buy pain pills
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Township official arrested for embezzling $70,000 to buy pain pills

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DECATUR – Tricia Napier, the assessor for Whitmore and Oakley townships, was arrested for allegedly stealing about $70,000 from the multi-township account, which she used to purchase a prescription pain medication.

Napier, 39, was arrested Thursday morning and booked into the Macon County Jail on a preliminary felony charge of theft of governmental property, $10,000 to $100,000. She was released from jail Thursday after posting $2,000 cash bail.

Officials from the multi-township assessor's office brought a theft complaint to the Macon County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday.

They said they received overdraft notices that the multi-township assessor's account was overdrawn by $800, said a sworn statement by sheriff's detective Cody Woods .

“Napier had been responsible for the finances of the assessor's office and maintained the checkbooks for the office” since Jan. 1, 2015, the statement said.

When a township official went to Napier's office in Oreana, he discovered all the statements for 2015 were missing. Napier later admitted that those statements were all at her residence.

A bank official informed him that a recent check had been made out to a Napier relative in the amount of $2,600. Napier later told police she was the only person involved in the thefts.

When Napier was questioned by township officials on Feb. 10 on why the account was missing about $70,000 to $80,000, she said, “she knew and that she was addicted to OxyContin.” She was tearful and said she was sorry.

She said the cost of the medication “on the street” was $50 apiece or as high as $6,000 for a bottle.

Sheriff's detectives discovered “88 checks with forged signatures” written during 13 months beginning in January 2015. “Of those checks, some were legitimate checks for bills. However, she had never been given permission to sign anyone else's name.”

Napier's annual salary was $20,500. She typically wrote herself a check each month for about $1,500 for her net paycheck.

“During the year of 2015 she cashed $92,301.54” from the assessor's account. “Some of the expenses Tricia claimed were for health insurance, which was not provided for her, and classes and travel, for which she overpaid herself.”

Napier said “she is currently in detox and has filed a lawsuit against (a hospital) from a previous surgery that has caused her to be addicted to pain medication.”

Napier is the plaintiff in a lawsuit filed in 2013, according to the Macon County Circuit Clerk's website. That case is ongoing, with a pretrial hearing set for May 16.

Napier is due in circuit court for her arraignment in her criminal case March 18.

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Staff Writer

Staff Writer for the Herald & Review.

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