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Parkville employee accused of stealing to be in court soon
by Ivan Foley
Landmark editor

A criminal case involving the former municipal court administrator for the City of Parkville is scheduled for a docket call next month in Platte County Circuit Court Division II.

Louella R. Smith, 44, is charged with the Class C felony of stealing from the City of Parkville. She is accused of stealing more than $101,000 from March of 2001 to December of 2003.

Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd said a Jan. 27 docket call is scheduled in the case. No pleadings have yet been entered and the January appearance will not be a trial date.

According to court documents filed by Zahnd's office, on Dec. 19, 2003, Parkville Municipal Court Judge Sandra Ferguson reported to the Parkville Police Department that a review of the court's financial records revealed that funds appeared to be missing from the court administrator's office. The judge reported that a court deposit containing only checks and money orders—with the currency missing—had been discovered inside the court administrator's office.

Smith, the court administrator, was suspended pending a review of the court records. An offense report was filed with the Parkville Police Department, who then contacted the Kansas City Police Department to conduct the investigation into the matter.

The investigation, according to court documents, revealed a theft of funds taken from the court's deposits during the years from 2001 to 2003. Approximately $12,741 was missing from 2001; $31,255 in 2002; and $57,273 in 2003.

On May 10 of this year, Det. Jeanelle Cesena with the Kansas City Police Department's financial investigations section interrogated Smith. Court papers indicate Smith admitted to being involved in the stealing of funds from the city court while employed as the court administrator.

Prosecutors say Smith admitted that during the year 2001 she took a small amount of currency from the court's deposits and increased that amount in 2002 and again in 2003. In 2003 she was taking money from court deposits "maybe two or three times per month," according to papers filed with the circuit court.

Smith allegedly told authorities that she used the money to pay her children's living expenses.



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