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By MARIO RENTERÍA

January 23, 2001|Staff Writer

A preliminary hearing for Brawley resident Teri Smelser, accused of embezzling about $563,000 from local organizations has been delayed a week, officials said Thursday.

Deputy District Attorney Karla Davis said investigators need another week to do forensic accounting into financial records. The hearing had been scheduled for Thursday.

State Bureau of Investigations 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.

The moneys are alleged to have 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.

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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.

Smelser is set to appear at 9 a.m. Thursday in the county jail court

Staff Writer Mario Rentería can be reached at 370-8549.

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