The former chief deputy in the Delaware County Register of Wills & Clerk of Orphans' Court, who was being investigated by the Criminal Investigation Division’s Economic Crimes Unit, was charged with stealing funds.
Christine Trout, a 32-year county employee, was fired from her position in November 2012 when the investigation began but had not been arrested or charged.
Trout has been charged with theft by deception, theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property and related offenses in connection with stealing more than $160,000 from the office over five years, according to court documents.
Trout, 52, of Glenolden, turned herself in to authorities Friday morning on the third degree, felony charges, according to Delaware County District Attorney Public Affairs Officer Emily Harris.
According to the DA's Office, an internal audit in November 2012 showed that Trout was possibly stealing cash from payments made to the Register of Wills. A financial analysis was conducted by the Delaware County Investigation Division and revealed that Trout had allegedly been stealing cash from the Register of Wills since January 2007.
Trout admitted to the theft through a statement to detectives, according to Harris.
Trout allegedly stole cash in two way; by removing cash from files at the end of the work day after she collected the finished work of subordinate employees, or the following morning when she conducted the banking for the Register of Wills and would alter the transaction report to disguise her actions, according to Harris.
Trout also would allegedly void completed transactions, take cash that had paid for those transactions, and adjust reports so there would be no record of the theft, according to Harris.
"It is unfortunate when government workers, or anyone serving the public for that matter, breach the trust instilled in them by the people for their own selfish gain. Those who do so will be held strictly accountable,” said District Attorney Jack Whelan in a statement. “Our Economic Crime Unit is dedicated to thoroughly investigating all matters of theft and fraud. I want to commend Chief Joseph Ryan and Lt. Detective Charles List, and Detectives William Wright, Matthew Cresta, Monica Van Horn and Zach Knight for their exemplary work on this complicated case which took a great amount of time and effort.”
Portions of this story were provided by a press release from the Delaware County District Attorney Public Affairs Office.