WASHINGTON PARISH, La. – The Bogalusa Clerk of Court was arrested and accused of stealing more than $7,000, according to the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Helen Cotton was arrested Mar. 21 on a warrant from the state Attorney General’s Office, according to the sheriff’s office. She is accused of felony theft of $7,650, injuring public records and filing false public records from 2006 to 2011.
In an affidavit for Cotton’s arrest, the document alleges, “27 case files of defendants before the City Court who had forfeited their cash bonds for failing to appear or as fines upon their convictions or had been refunded their cash bonds. The documents indicated that the defendants had not received the refunds, or that the records had been altered to reflect that the cash bond amounts had been transferred to the Criminal Fine Account. These 27 cases amounted to a misapplication of $7,650 and 8 instances where Cotton signed Court Minute Entries which are fraudulent.”
According to the sheriff’s office release, Cotton worked for the City Court of Bogalusa for 18 years and resigned in 2011, and she was the “only person who could write checks” on the account and “was responsible for the funds during the period involved in the apparent theft of the cash bond amounts,” says the affidavit.
Cotton was released on a $15,000 bond a day after her arrest. Her initial court appearance has been set for May 28.