Written By: Ishton W. Morton – June 29th, 2019
On Friday, June 28th, 2019 Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader was indicted by a grand jury on 16 different charges.
According to the information received, these indictment(s) includes misdemeanor(s) of conflict-of-interest charges alleging that Reader sought or accepted thousands of dollars in loans from employees of his office together with a county’s vendor.
In addition, on Friday, Keith Faber from the state auditor’s office announced that Reader faces seven charges of conflict of interest, four charges of theft in office, two charges of theft and one charge each of tampering with evidence, tampering with records and securing writings by deception.
Subsequently, the auditor’s office began its investigation into Reader a little more than a year ago.
However, Keith Faber State Auditor said; “This has been a long and intensive investigation with unfortunate and very serious results.”
He continued to say; “It is our job to hold public officials accountable and root out fraud, waste, and abuse in our communities. We do not take these charges lightly and recognize that no one is above the law. While this is a major step toward seeking justice, our team is fully prepared to present these findings to a jury as this matter moves forward. I’d like to commend everyone who worked on this case for the immense amount of effort and detail that has been dedicated to the investigation.”
Ironically, these indictments came in December 2018 only after Pike County prosecuting attorney filed a motion to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Sheriff Charles Reader accusing him of misconduct in office.
Seemingly to make matters worse, Reader was propelled into the spotlight during the investigation of the Pike County mass murder investigation.
Reportedly, on Friday April 22nd, 2016 four people were arrested in November for the murders of eight people in Pike County.
According to court records these arrest consisted of George “Billy” Wagner III, 47, Angela Wagner, 48, George Wagner IV, 27 and Edward “Jake” Wagner, 26
Additionally, Rita Jo Newcomb, the mother of Angela Wagner and the grandmother of George Wagner IV and Edward “Jake” Wagner, faces obstruction of justice, perjury and forgery charges in connection to the murders.
As the story goes, Reader was appointed sheriff approximately one year before seven adults and a teenage boy, all in the Rhoden family, were fatally shot in April 2016. Still it is not exactly as to what these killings have to do with Reader’s indictments.
Nonetheless, Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader has been indicted on 16 charges, which includes theft in office and tampering with evidence after he was accused of keeping money from drug cases in a safe in his office.
Meanwhile, the Ohio Auditor’s Office continues to maintain an investigation was opened into Reader after receiving an anonymous tip in November 2018.
Thusly, the complaint accuses Reader of keeping money from drug cases in a safe in his office.
It is somewhat nebulous as to whether the complaint is accusing Reader with Embezzlement.
In the academia Embezzlement is defined as the act of withholding assets for the purpose of conversion (theft) of such assets, by one or more persons to whom the assets were entrusted, either to be held or to be used for specific purposes. Embezzlement is a type of financial fraud.
Furthermore, the tip claims Reader uses that money to pay for a gambling addiction. So What is it?
Is this some sought of an intensive systematic campaign directed against Reader?
In particular this statement seems to be somewhat weak. The complainant alleged; “Reader just does whatever he wants and no one ever calls him on it. We are scared to death of him. He is unstable and threatens people.”
On the other hand, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost issued the following statement regarding Reader’s indictment on Friday. “This will have no impact on the Wagner capital murder cases, as Sheriff Reader was not the primary witness for any issue of fact or law. Ohio sheriffs act with integrity and honor, and this rare occurrence does not reflect the excellent work they do daily throughout their counties.”
Meanwhile, charges against 77-year-old Fredericka Wagner were dismissed.