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Smelser embezzlement case on hold pending further investigation

January 12, 2001|By MARCY MISNER, Staff Writer

Although Brawley resident Teri Smelser was in court Thursday, any judicial progress in her case is on hold until more investigation is complete.

Smelser, 51, will return to court Thursday as investigators continue forensic accounting into financial records concerning allegations she embezzled about $563,000 from various organizations for which she was treasurer.

State Bureau of Investigation agents arrested Smelser at her home Oct. 20 on four counts of grand theft by embezzlement, six counts of grand theft by false pretenses and one count of elder financial abuse.

Deputy District Attorney Karla Davis has said Smelser is accused of embezzling around $563,000.

The monies are alleged to come from several accounts with which Smelser was involved, such as the Cattle Call Rodeo Committee, All Saints Episcopal Church in Brawley and the Pioneers' Museum cattlemen's gallery. Smelser also is accused of mishandling deeds to secure personal loans from several Brawley residents in connection with her job with her father's real estate company. That office in Brawley has closed.

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Bail for Smelser was reduced from $500,000 to $100,000 in a hearing Oct. 26 and Smelser was released later that day.

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