Former Nelsonville Deputy Auditor Stephanie Wilson was arraigned today in Athens County Common Pleas Court after being indicted on a charge of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a second-degree felony, and theft in office, a third-degree felony.
Wilson, 47, of Stewart, was arrested in the early morning on Thursday and entered a plea of not guilty to the new allegations, the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office reported.
The ex-deputy auditor previously pleaded guilty to tampering with records, a fourth-degree felony; forgery, a fourth-degree felony; telecommunications fraud, a third-degree felony; and theft in office, a third-degree felony — all charges related to funds she stole from Nelsonville during her tenure as the city's deputy auditor.
Wilson has not yet been sentenced on those charges. Athens County Assistant Prosecutor Glenn Jones told Judge George McCarthy that Wilson was reportedly "not truthful" with the prosecution during plea negotiations. Further investigation led to the discovery of an additional $42,000 in fraudulent tax returns, improperly paying herself overtime and other refunds perpetrated by Wilson, according to a press release from the Prosecutor’s Office.
The prosecution’s argument for sentencing on the original indictment would have been based on the recovery of more than $200,000 in restitution owed by Wilson.
According to the new indictment, Wilson filed and processed inaccurate tax returns for Wilson Construction, a business operated by her husband, Richard Wilson, 51, of Stewart. She later created fake businesses to serve as collection accounts for fraudulent tax returns from Nelsonville, and her husband allegedly signed the fraudulent tax returns for the business.
Richard Wilson is charged with aggravated theft and theft in office — both third-degree felonies — and is scheduled to be arraigned on March 24, the Prosecutor’s Office said.
The prosecution recommended a $2.5 million bond for Stephanie Wilson, citing her as a flight risk and pointing to the seriousness of the crime and the lengthy prison sentence she already faced, coupled with the addition of the new charges, the Prosecutor’s Office stated.
Judge McCarthy agreed with the recommendation. The defense reportedly reserved argument on bond pending the involvement of new counsel representing the former deputy auditor.
An Athens County grand jury indicted Wilson in February 2020, The Athens NEWS reported.
She was employed with the City of Nelsonville from 2012 until her resignation in February. Last year, Nelsonville City Auditor Taylor Sappington reported several “irregularities in the payroll and direct deposit reports” to Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn.
“Wilson, who worked for the city of Nelsonville as a deputy auditor and was responsible for payroll since 2012, is accused of fabricating payroll records to have money electronically transferred to an account under her control,” according to a statement from Blackburn’s office released in February of 2020.
Wilson agreed at the time to resign from her position with the city of Nelsonville, as well as step down from an unrelated position as a member of Federal Hocking Local School Board.
Garry Dickerson, Nelsonville’s former auditor, previously said he “hadn’t noticed anything” wrong while working with Wilson, saying that she was in charge of payroll for the city during his time as city auditor.
“She must have been flying under the radar somehow,” Dickerson said at the time, adding that he was “shocked” and “never suspected anything.”