BELMONT — A Belmont County couple have entered pleas to charges for allegedly taking money from the Belmont County Memorial Park Cemetery.
WTOV reports Keith Baratie and his wife Karen Sue Ellen Neff were in court on Aug. 9, and entered not guilty pleas, just one day after they were arrested and charged with forgery, theft and secure writings by deception in the Memorial Park Cemetery case.
Baratie and Neff were being investigated after money was reportedly removed from the cemetery’s bank account earlier this year. Investigators with the Belmont County Sheriff’s Office were reportedly able to trace the loss of about $282,000 from the cemetery’s account back to the couple.
The maximum penalty for each of the crimes in 36 months in the penitentiary, or a total of nine years possibly. The maximum fine for each count is $10,000.
An investigation began last September after complaints that the cemetery’s upkeep had become almost non-existent.