Ex-Merkel city secretary indicted for allegedly stealing up to $30,000


ABILENE, Texas - A former Merkel city secretary was indicted by a Taylor County grand jury Thursday for theft by a public servant.

Gwendolyn Tarpley Wetsel, 55, was previously arrested and released from Taylor County Jail after posting $5,000 bail on April 26.

Court documents allege Wetsel stole up to $30,000 and that the theft may be related to online gambling.

KTXS left a message for Merkel City Manager Steve Campbell for comment.

According to court documents, Merkel officials contacted the Texas Rangers about missing money in February 2016.

The Rangers discovered in January that Wetsel allegedly had been writing checks to herself and then deleting record of the checks once they cleared the bank. Wetsel then would alter the amounts of legitimate checks to cover the amount taken, the documents show.

The investigation discovered Wetsel changed the billing address of her city-issued credit card to her home address, so she would get the statements there. In addition, the credit card company told the city there was an outstanding balance of $11,024.48.

Research also revealed monthly cash advances of $200 to $800 were being obtained and that there were numerous online purchases of online gambling credits on that card.

It wasn't immediately clear if this investigation is related to another case reported by KTXS last February.

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