Ex-Merrillville town clerk admits US theft, tax charges

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A former Merrillville Town Court clerk has pleaded guilty to federal charges of stealing bond money from the court and filing a false tax return.

The guilty pleas by 42-year-old Virlissa Crenshaw of East Chicago were accepted Wednesday by U.S. District Judge James Moody in Hammond.

The Times of Munster reports a proposed plea agreement would require Crenshaw to pay $176,000 to the Lake County town and $55,000 to the Internal Revenue Service. In return, the government would not pursue criminal tax charges against Crenshaw's spouse.

When Moody asked Crenshaw why she chose to plead guilty, she told him, "Because I am guilty."

Allegations against Crenshaw surfaced last year when an Indiana State Board of Accounts audit accused Crenshaw of diverting $310,000 in bond payments.

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