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 Former CAB Business Manager Appears in Court; Jury Trial Set for September 11

May 23, 2007 - A former business manager for the Charles A. Beard Memorial School Corporation made her first appearance in court last week to face charges she committed six felonies while on the job.

Court records indicate Amanda Zurwell, 31, appeared Tuesday, May 15, in the Henry Superior Court I in New Castle for an initial hearing. She was charged in late April with two counts of forgery and four counts of theft with respect to unauthorized overpayments she allegedly made to herself while in charge of payroll at CAB.

Zurwell began working as CAB's business manager in early September and resigned effective January 19, a week after she stopped reporting to work. According to the Indiana State Board of Accounts, which examined CAB's financial records from July 1, 2006, through January 19, Zurwell received a total of $7,291.03 in unauthorized pay during the four months she worked for CAB.

Although the SBA said overpayments on Zurwell's biweekly pay began with her very first paycheck, the four theft charges she faces are only for alleged overpayments that occurred after December 1, when Zurwell took over payroll duties after the resignation of CAB payroll clerk Angela Moss. The two forgery charges are based on allegations Zurwell issued two unauthorized checks payable from CAB to herself during that same time period - one for $2,297.19 that was cashed, and another for $2,651.50 that was discovered by another CAB employee and voided before it was mailed out to Zurwell.

According to court records, Zurwell was not represented by an attorney when she appeared in court last week. A hearing has been scheduled for June 1 to determine whether Zurwell has retained an attorney or is eligible to have a public defender appointed.

Zurwell has a pretrial conference scheduled for August 16, and her case is tentatively scheduled for a jury trial on September 11. Each of the four theft charges Zurwell faces is a Class D felony carrying a maximum sentence of three years in prison and a $10,000 fine, while the two forgery charges are Class C felonies that could each result in sentences up to eight years in prison and fines of $10,000.

Besides the six felonies she is facing in Henry County, Zurwell is also facing a single count of felony theft in Brown County. In mid-March, Brown County Prosecutor Jim Oliver charged Zurwell with the theft last summer of a $3,132 check from Brown County School Corp., where she worked as treasurer before coming to CAB. That case is tentatively set for jury trial on July 25.


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