Tax clerk charged

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 9, 2008

WINDSOR – A former employee with the Bertie County Tax Office has been arrested on charges of embezzlement.

Sonya Sameika Harrell, 33, of Cedar Landing Road in Windsor, was arrested Dec. 31 and charged with 10 counts of felonious embezzlement stemming from alleged financial discrepancies during her employment.

Harrell was terminated by Bertie County in September of last year, the same time at which the investigation into the missing funds began.

&uot;It’s been an ongoing investigation; this is basically what I’ve been working on for the last several months,&uot; stated Detective Sergeant Ed Pittman with the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office.

&uot;(The discrepancies) went back to June 2006 and that’s where the charges started, on up until last year,&uot; he continued.

Pittman added that the money from the 10 counts totals somewhere in the neighborhood of $7,000 to $7,500.

&uot;There were some questionable amounts of money that was collected from taxpayers and was never turned in to the county finance office,&uot; he further stated.

Harrell’s official title while employed with the county was that of Senior Tax Customer Service Representative. She worked in the tax office for seven years, according to county officials.

&uot;The sheriff was contacted by the county manager to alert him of discrepancies,&uot; Pittman stated.

Harrell was placed under a $25,000 secured bond and was later released, according to Pittman.

Her first appearance was Jan. 2 and the probable cause hearing is scheduled for Jan. 24.

Each count of embezzlement, which is a Class H felony, carries a sentence range of 5-20 months.