Editors note: This article originally appeared on the front page of the Morgan County Citizen on January 2, 2014. All articles concerning Melissa Shawn Stephens’ arrest, indictment and sentencing were unlawfully removed from the Morgan County Citizen website. A police report was filed with the Madison Police Department in October 2016 and an investigation is underway. It is a Class B felony to hack into a website and a felony to tamper with content.
Woman Faces 75 Theft, Fraud Charges
January 2, 2014
By Patrick Yost
A Madison woman turned herself into authorities a day after Christmas on 75 felony counts of theft.
According to Georgia Bureau of Investigation Special Agent In Charge J.T. Ricketson, Melissa Shawn Stephens, 28, turned herself in to Madison Police Department authorities at the Morgan County Detention Center on December 26, Morgan County Sheriff Robert Markley said Monday that Stephens had posted a $12,000 bond and had been released from the detention center.
Stephens has been charged, Ricketson said, in connection with thefts from Prime Property LLC, a Madison-based construction firm.
Ricketson said Stephens has been a three-year employee at Prime Property LLC. The firm, he said, contacted the Madison Police Department on December 2, regarding irregularities in the firm’s business accounts.
“They realized some money was missing,” Ricketson said.
Beginning on December 2 a GBI agent began working on the firm’s allegations. Stephens has been interviewed regarding the thefts on two occasions, Ricketson said.
According to documents at the Morgan County Sheriff’s office, Stephens has been charged with 63 counts of financial transaction card fraud, one count forgery, 11 counts theft by taking and one count financial transaction card theft. All counts are felonies.
Ricketson said after an agent began working the allegations “his investigation revealed a number of transactions that occurred that were not appropriate or authorized by the company.”
Ricketson said currently authorities estimate that more than $11,000 may have been misappropriated from the company. He added, however, that an investigation into the thefts is continuing and more charges may be filed.