Crime & Courts

Ex-Burke County town clerk pleads guilty to embezzlement

A former town clerk in Burke County has pleaded guilty to embezzlement and was placed on probation, prosecutors say.

Jeanine Anette Barus, 61, of Valdese, also was ordered to pay $25,000 in restitution to the town of Connelly Springs, where she had been clerk for seven years until 2012, according to court documents.

Prosecutors alleged that Barus had used town credit cards to spend $25,000 on personal expenses. She was accused of spending the money to pay Duke Energy and cable TV bills and to buy groceries, outbuildings and other household goods, according to court documents.

Barus had no previous criminal record and entered the guilty plea this week in Burke County Superior Court, prosecutors said.

Judge James Morgan sentenced Barus to between 6 and 17 months in prison, but the sentence was suspended, provided she complete supervised probation of 36 months.

She is required to pay $15,000 of the the $25,000 restitution immediately.