Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Former Bedford County supervisor pleads no contest in embezzlement

A former member of the Bedford County Board of Supervisors pleaded no contest Tuesday to charges of embezzlement and money laundering.

Earl Anthony "Tony" Ware, a 66-year-old Big Island man who served on the board for more than 20 years, appeared Tuesday in Bedford County Circuit Court.

Prosecutors agreed to drop some charges in exchange for the no contest pleas, according to John Alexander, deputy commonwealth's attorney for Botetourt County. The Botetourt County Commonwealth Attorney's Office was specially appointed to handle the case.

Ware will face sentencing on six counts of embezzlement and another six counts of money laundering, according to online court records. The maximum sentence for the embezzlement charges would put Ware in prison for 120 years.

He was accused of taking funds from the estate of Hattie Routon, a benefit fund for children whose mother had died, and from the Big Island Fire Department.

Ware had served as the co-executor of Routon's estate, an administrator for the benefit fund and the Big Island department's treasurer, Alexander said. Ware told the prosecutor he had repaid some of the funds. Still, Alexander said Ware owes about $295,000 in restitution.

Ware was a member of the county's board of supervisors from 1980 to 2004.

His sentencing is scheduled for April 8.

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