Water system secretary arrested in theft of over $173,000

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Source: NPSO

An investigation into financial improprieties at the Creston Waterworks System in north Natchitoches Parish led to the arrest of a Creston woman on felony theft charges. The investigation began May 6 when Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Deputies received a complaint of funds allegedly missing from the Creston Waterworks system.

Natchitoches Wood

An offense report was completed and turned over to the NPSO Criminal Investigations Division.

Detectives and an independent certified auditor began to investigate the allegations.

Detectives and auditors began reviewing documents, including banking and financial records of Creston Waterworks from 2013 until April 2020.

During the course of the investigation, detectives and auditors determined approximately $173,000 dollars in waterworks funds were taken.

Detectives then began focusing their attention towards the Creston Waterworks secretary/bookkeeper, Wendie Weaver Harper, 52, of the 600 block of Sandy Point Road, Campti.

Detectives interviewed Harper May 19 and May 21 at the NPSO Criminal Investigations Division.

During the course of those interviews, detectives learned Harper allegedly used unauthorized waterworks funds to pay several personal credit card bills and overpaid herself.

Detectives continued to gather additional information from auditors.

On Thursday June 11, Harper reported to the NPSO Criminal Investigations Division where she was arrested in connection with the investigation.

Harper was transported and booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center charged with 1-count of Felony Theft.

A Tenth Judicial District Court Judge has set bond at $100,000.

Detectives say the investigation is ongoing while they continue to interview witnesses.

If you have any information contact Asst. Chief of Investigations Detective Reginald Turner at 318-357-7830.

The case will be forwarded to the Natchitoches Parish District Attorney’s Office for prosecution.

Detectives remind public entities of the importance of keeping proper records and have yearly audits completed.