Former school board president arrested

FALLON — Former Churchill County School Board President Debbie Getto-Smith has been arrested on suspicion of embezzling $134,650 from a client for whom she did bookkeeping.

Smith, 53, turned herself in Friday at the county jail after a criminal complaint was filed accusing her of two counts of felony embezzlement.

The complaint alleges Smith used a credit card belonging to 80-year-old Joanna Ross to charge $84,650 between November 1999 and last December.

She also withdrew $50,000 from three accounts belonging to Ross in March 2001, according to the complaint.

Smith, who served on the school board for 12 years until she lost a re-election bid in November, was Ross’ bookkeeper for more than 15 years. Ross is the owner of Ross Investment Co.

Smith’s attorney, Lyman McConnell, said his client began spending money to fuel an addiction to shopping.

Smith is receiving treatment and is no longer in control of any finances, McConnell said.

“One thing she wants her family to know and Joanna to know is that she’s sorry,” McConnell told the Lahontan Valley News & Fallon Eagle Standard newspaper. “She hopes someday they can forgive her.”

Smith, who was released from jail after posting $10,000 cash bail, is to be arraigned on June 4.

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