Former Pitt Co. Sheriff's Office Employees Charged With Embezzlement

Two former clerks are accused of taking more than $22,000 in sheriff

Evon Garris / Melissa Peaden

Two former employees of the Pitt County Sheriff's Office have been arrested, accused of stealing thousands of dollars in funds. One of those former employees won a million dollars in the state lottery five years ago.

Evon Garris and Melissa Peaden turned themselves in Monday morning to the magistrate's office after being indicted last week by a grand jury.

Deputies say the two were civilian employees who allegedly took money that was received at the sheriff's office for civil services.

Indictments say Garris took more than $18,664, while Peaden stole $4,284.

"Individuals who paid for concealed weapon permits received the permits for which they had paid and individuals received the other services for which they had remitted payment," said Sheriff Neil Elks. "The victim in this case was the sheriff's office itself."

Garris, indicted on 14 counts, had worked at the office from September 1986 until June 2001. She was then rehired in September 2002 until June 2013.

Peaden, indicted for 12 counts, worked there from July 2009 to June 2013.

The sheriff says the two women were not working together in their thefts.

Elks says several months ago they noticed discrepancies in their civil processing receipts and contacted the SBI to investigate.

Deputies say both clerks resigned when the thefts were discovered.

Authorities confirm that Garris won $1,000,000 in the state lottery in April 2008. The lottery commission says the Ayden woman told them she planned to use the winnings to set up a retirement fund, take care of her parents, and go on a cruise.

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