Sheriff indicted on 16 charges including theft in office

“Reader just does whatever he wants and no one ever calls him on it... We are scared to death of him... He is unstable and threatens people.”

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An Ohio sheriff was indicted Friday on 16 counts including theft in office, conflict of interest, and tampering with evidence. According to an anonymous complaint, the sheriff stole thousands of dollars from the cash confiscated from drug busts to fuel a gambling addiction, allowed his daughter to drive impounded cars, and accepted illegal loans from vendors and employees.

On Friday, Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader was indicted on 16 counts, including felonies and misdemeanors, for multiple abuses in office. Beginning in June 2017, Sheriff Reader allegedly began requesting and/or accepting at least five loans between $1,000 and $2,500 from vendors and his own employees in order to fund his gambling addiction.

According to the indictment, Reader started stealing confiscated money and vehicles from his office in August 2017. Using the authority of his office, Reader repeatedly stole between $1,000 and $7,500 from the cash confiscated from drug busts. Reader was also charged with stealing a 2013 Nissan Versa and a 1991 Chevrolet Silverado that were secured by his office.

Aware that he was under investigation, Reader allegedly tampered with evidence and falsified records in an attempt to cover-up his illicit activities on December 20, 2018.

Ohio Auditor Keith Faber, who provided a special prosecutor to investigate Reader, released the following statement about the indictment: “This has been a long and intensive investigation with unfortunate and very serious results. It is our job to hold public officials accountable and root out fraud, waste, and abuse in our communities. We do not take these charges lightly and recognize that no one is above the law. While this is a major step toward seeking justice, our team is fully prepared to present these findings to a jury as this matter moves forward.”

Last year, an anonymous complaint sent to then-Ohio Auditor Dave Yost’s office said, “Reader just does whatever he wants and no one ever calls him on it… We are scared to death of him… He is unstable and threatens people.”

On Friday, a Pike County grand jury returned a 16-count indictment against the sheriff. Reader has been charged with two counts of tampering with evidence, four counts of theft in office, seven counts of conflict of interest, one count of securing writing by deception, and two counts of theft. He currently faces eight felonies and eight misdemeanors.

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