Reavis faces civil suit

County taking aggressive stance against ex-worker
Aug. 27, 2014 @ 07:32 PM

The woman accused of embezzling nearly $400,000 from Vance County is facing simultaneous civil and criminal cases.

Vance County’s civil suit alleges Christa Reavis, 41, conspired with her ex-husband, Charles Reavis, to steal money from the county since 2007.

Vance County attorney Jonathan Care said the civil lawsuit filed Aug. 8 in Vance County Superior Court makes several similar claims of fraud and theft against Reavis and her ex-husband in hopes that the court enters a civil judgment ordering the former Vance County employee to repay the county.

Reavis was arrested Aug. 8 on one count of embezzlement, one count of possessing stolen property and one count of felony larceny.

She was arrested Aug. 19 on 49 counts of forgery and counterfeiting and 78 counts of uttering forged instrument.

According to the civil lawsuit, Reavis was hired as an accounting clerk for Vance County on Feb. 14, 2005, and was employed with the finance department until July 18, 2014.

“In her position as finance clerk/accounting technician, Ms. Reavis held a position of trust and confidence, and part of her duties was to be the alternate for the county finance department to enter payments for the county’s accounts payables into the computer accounting software,” the lawsuit states.

She was also responsible for entering the names and amounts for individuals and businesses that were to be paid by the county and printing the checks once the information was approved by the finance director, according to the lawsuit.

“At some point in time prior to Aug. 2, 2007, Ms. Reavis devised a scheme to embezzle, steal, defraud or otherwise take funds from Vance County,” the lawsuit states. “Ms. Reavis initially conspired with Mr. Reavis to steal funds from Vance County by using Mr. Reavis’ name as the payee on the fraudulent checks.’

The lawsuit states she began using her own name after the couple separated.

It states she would falsely create checks payable under the name of a valid vendor of Vance County and alter the payees name to either her own name or her then-husband’s name before the checks were printed.

After the checks were printed, she would change the payee’s name in the financial accounting software back to the name of the vendor, the lawsuit states.

“Each month, Ms. Reavis — after previously negotiating the forged instruments during the prior month — would then additionally abuse her position and authority and gain access to the monthly bank statement and returned, cancelled checks, and would remove each fraudulent check made out to her or her husband from the county’s records,” according to the lawsuit.

The county estimates more than $379,000 was stolen.

“This conspiracy was so well hidden that a complete listing and amount of the funds embezzled has yet to be finalized after the finance director has spent two weeks investigating and trying to make such a determination,” the lawsuit states.

According to the lawsuit, Reavis used the stolen money to purchase a Toyota Tundra and make down payments on her home, at 94 Oak Forest Drive, Henderson.

Care said the civil lawsuit, along with criminal charges, is the county’s attempt to recoup its losses as quickly as possible.

“You have to be as aggressive as you can when someone has taken this amount of money,” he said.

The Dispatch’s attempts to reach Reavis were unsuccessful.

When a reporter tried to speak to Reavis at her Oak Forest Drive home, Vance County fire director Harold Henrich — apparently speaking for Reavis — instructed the reporter to leave and threatened to contact law enforcement.

The Dispatch has not run a mug shot photo of Reavis because no such photo is publicly available.

Vance County Sheriff Peter White said his office did not take her picture either time she was arrested.

 

Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.