Woman charged with theft, fraud over bank card transactions

A former 4-H committee treasurer is accused of stealing nearly $12,000.

Stephanie Ball, 48, of the 4000 block of Hunt Road, is charged with theft and fraud as Level 6 felonies. She was arrested March 3 and posted $1,500 bail. A Wayne County Circuit Court trial is scheduled for May 30.

Ball served as Wayne County 4-H Horse and Pony Committee treasurer from June 2018 until last Oct. 6, according to an affidavit of probable cause. Shortly after, a contractor reported that a $785.12 check from the committee bounced. An internal investigation found a committee bank card was used for fraudulent charges at retail stores and unauthorized ATM transactions throughout Ball’s tenure.

When the committee sent Ball a letter asking for return of any bank cards or blank checks in her possession and receipts or explanations for the challenged transactions, she returned the cards and checks but did not provide any receipts or explanations, referring questions to her attorney, the affidavit said.

The Wayne County Sheriff’s Office was called to investigate. Ball’s criminal charges accuse her of stealing $11,864.70, including $4,166.20 in fraudulent charges at places such as Walmart and Meijer and $7,698.50 in ATM withdrawals. The fraud charge accuses Ball of making false or misleading statements to conceal and enable the thefts.

Committee meeting minutes show Ball reported bank account balances that differed from First Financial Bank statements at those times. For example, during her final meeting as treasurer Oct. 6, she reported a balance of $11,136.90 when the account contained just $201.60, according to the affidavit.

The advisory sentence for a Level 6 felony conviction is one year, with a sentencing range of six months to 2 1/2 years.

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A version of this article appeared in the March 15 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Mike Emery is a reporter and layout editor for the Western Wayne News.