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UPDATE: Former Washington County elections director sentenced for theft

(WTAP)
Published: Nov. 3, 2016 at 12:11 AM EDT
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UPDATE 9/27/18

Hupp was sentenced to 17 months in jail, a $5,000 fine and restitution costs of $149,000, which her attorney says she has already paid back.

Former Marietta Tigers Boosters Club board member Mark Weihl made a statement at the sentencing.

"I challenge you Tara to take full acceptance for the punishment laid down by the honorable Judge Lewis," he said. "I challenge you to make it your life's work for doing what is right and best for others as a way to redeem yourself."

Special prosecutor Thomas Webster argued that this case involved a long history of theft.

"Seven year of athletes at Marietta High School who suffered losses due to the defendant's theft of their funds," Webster added. "Even if we recover some or all of the money that was stolen, their loss can never be repaid."

"It's not enough to say Tara is sorry for what she did. She is more than sorry," Hupp's attorney George Cosenza said. "It's hard to put into words just how remorseful and ashamed that she feels for the actions committed in this case."

The Marietta Tigers Boosters Club has filed civil suit against Hupp to contest further damages.

Update: 8/13/2019 3:45 P.M.

Tara Hupp, who was director of the board of elections from 2009 to 2016, was accused of stealing more than $300,000 from the Marietta Tigers Booster Club, where she served as treasurer.

She pleaded guilty Monday to a fourth-degree felony, and paid back $149,000.

it's the result of a plea agreement reached between Hupp's attorney, George Cosenza, and Special Washington County Prosecutor Thomas Webster.

Hupp was originally charged with third-degree felony theft.

She is scheduled to be sentenced September 27th. She could face 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine.


UPDATE 12/2/2016 4:00 PM

A special prosecutor has been appointed to the theft case involving former Washington County Board of Elections Director, Tara Hupp.

Hupp is charged with felony theft for allegedly stealing $30,000 to $40,000 from the Marietta Tigers Booster Club while serving as treasurer.

The Washington County Commission met Thursday to approve the special prosecution request submitted by Washington County Prosecutor, Kevin Rings.

Commissioner David White says Rings does not want anyone to claim political favoritism, no matter the outcome.

Tom Webster has been appointed to the case.

He is the law director for the City of Belpre and the Village of Beverly.

White says there will be an additional cost to hire Webster, but that cost is unknown at this time.

He also says this decision does not involve the commission, other than appropriating the funds.


UPDATE 11/9/2016 3:50 PM

An update in the case of former Washington County Board of Elections Director, Tara Hupp.

Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks says Hupp was scheduled to appear in court Wednesday for her preliminary hearing.

That hearing has been continued.

He says the prosecution is looking to appoint a special prosecutor to the case.

The Washington County prosecutor is an elected official, and it would be a conflict of interest.

Mincks says no legal action will be taken until a special prosecutor is appointed.


UPDATE 11/3/2016 5:20 PM

The Washington County Board of Elections held an emergency meeting Thursday to discuss Tara Hupp's employment status in the aftermath of a theft charge against her and to name an interim replacement.

Hupp, a Republican, served as treasurer for the Marietta Tigers Booster Club and admitted to stealing $40,000 from the club, according to a document filed Tuesday in Marietta Municipal Court.

She resigned from her Board of Election post in an email to the board on Thursday.

The four board members, as well as Washington County prosecutors were in attendance at Thursday's meeting.

Dennis Sipe, the chairman of the board, says the Secretary of State and State Auditor have been made aware of the situation. He says the board is in compliance with everything at this point.

After nearly an hour and a half executive session on Thursday, the board appointed, Mandy Amos, a Board of Elections clerk to serve as interim director.

That appointment goes into effect on Friday.

The board saw it necessary to move quickly on this matter.

"The most important thing in front of us is an election of the President of the United States. This is a very important time and the nature of the election and the pre-election hype, we certainly are mindful of our P's and Q's. We want to be ready. Right now, we are ready," says Sipe.

The board says the locks will be changed at the board office and someone from Election System and Software will be here for the remainder of election season to make sure everything goes smoothly.

The board says there are no missing funds from the Board of Elections. However a standard audit will take place in January.

The search will begin for a permanent director after Thanksgiving.

Sipe wants to stress to voters that their votes will count and the election process is secure.


UPDATE 11/3/2016 10:55 AM

The Washington County Board of Elections is holding an emergency meeting at 2 p.m. today to discuss personnel issues and review election day procedures.

The chairman of the board of the Washington County Board of Elections, Dennis Sipe, says that he spoke with Tara Hupp briefly Wednesday night. He told her not to report to work on Thursday due to the circumstances.

Hupp then told Sipe that she would voluntarily resign via email. Sipe says he does not know if that email has been received at this time.

Otherwise, he says the office is running smoothly. The Ohio secretary of state's office has been notified and the board is under compliance.

Siple says none of the office procedures are being hindered by Hupp's absence.

The board will discuss how the office will move forward at today's meeting, which is open to the public.


Washington County Board of Elections Director Tara Hupp was charged with felony theft on Wednesday, according to Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks.

Hupp, who served as treasurer for the Marietta Tigers Booster Club, admitted to stealing from the club, according to a document filed Tuesday in Marietta Municipal Court.

The court document says state numerous checks totaling $40,000, were made out to cash and endorsed by Hupp in 2015 and 2016.

Hupp initially denied any wrongdoing. However, the court document says she eventually admitted to making out numerous checks and using them to pay her personal bills.

She was then charged with felony theft and issued a summons.

Sheriff Mincks tells us she'll appear in court within the next five to ten days.