Clay official arrested on charges involving theft of $71,000 in township funds
BRAZIL -- A former Clay County township trustee was arrested Friday afternoon in connection with a theft and forgery case involving more than $71,000.
Paul H. Hackett, 62, Brazil, was arrested at his home and lodged in the Clay County Jail on $10,000 bond.
Hackett was charged with nine felony counts, including one count of forgery, a Class C felony, and eight counts of theft, a Class D felony.
The theft and forgery acts allegedly occurred from June of 2007 through the year 2010. Hackett had served a four-year term as Van Buren Township trustee covering 2007-10.
Around 5 p.m. Friday, Indiana State Police detectives and troopers from the Putnamville Post served a Clay County arrest warrant on the former township trustee for allegations of theft and forgery totaling $71,023.21.
Putnamville detectives said the investigation originated in May 2010 when the Indiana State Board of Accounts contacted State Police alleging numerous township checks had been issued and signed by Hackett for personal gain, all during his time as the elected Van Buren Township trustee.
Some of the personal gain items identified in the investigation were payments of home utility bills, vehicle repair bills, automobile loans, personal credit card bills, and other miscellaneous personal items.
The State Board of Accounts agency initiated the audit after receiving an inquiry from a utility company about a township check they had allegedly received from Hackett to pay on his personal account.
The case was investigated by ISP Det. Sam Stearley.
Assisting were ISP Sgt. Troy Stanton, Trooper Jim Cruse, Indiana State Board of Accounts and the Clay County Prosecutor Lee Reberger.