Office administrator accused of manipulating payroll records
BRENTWOOD — An office administrator at the Rockingham County jail has been indicted on charges that she manipulated payroll records of her husband who worked as a corrections officer, making it appear that he worked overtime and other shifts to increase his pay, prosecutors said.
Ann Marie Nelson, 55, of Chester was indicted on two counts of felony theft by deception charges for overbilling Rockingham County from July 2012 until her alleged thefts were detected sometime around May 15, according to prosecutors.
Her husband, Keith Nelson, a corrections officer who held the rank of corporal, has not yet been charged in the case. But more charges are expected in the case, prosecutors said.
Deputy County Attorney Tom Reid declined to say how much money they believe Ann Marie Nelson allegedly took from the county.
“This is still an open investigation,” Deputy County Attorney Tom Reid said Wednesday. “We are continuing to put together what we can find and we are going to be as thorough as possible in reviewing what has been submitted.”
Nelson served as a jail’s office administrator, overseeing payroll records submitted to the county’s finance department.
Reid said that a staff member at the Rockingham County found questionable entries in May.
That prompted officials to suspend Nelson and her husband during the investigation.
County Attorney James Reams announced the indictments on Wednesday afternoon, saying that he expects an audit and criminal probe will delve into years of payroll records.
An audit is being handled by investigators and members of the county’s finance department, according to Reid. Nelson is facing a pair of Class A felonies, each punishable by up to 7½ to 15 years in state prison. She is scheduled for arraignment on Sept. 26 in Rockingham County Superior Court.
Nelson and her husband are no longer working for the county, according to Reid.