Mercer County Money Investigation Results In Treasurer's Arrest - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Mercer County Money Investigation Results In Treasurer's Arrest

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Mercer County treasurer Mike Bertelsen has been charged with theft for a second time in less than a year.

The five term treasurer was arrested by the county sheriff Wednesday.

Accused of taking funds from the county he works for.

Mercer County has been looking into its finances for some time.

The county began looking into its finances last fall after Bertelsen had been arrested.

Accused of taking $800 from the Republican Central Committee of Mercer County.

That case is still pending, but the county ordered a forensic audit be done.

The county chairman says they got the results in April and saw thousands missing from a county fund.

"It was in a 911 account which is a subcommittee of the county," says Mercer Chairman Jeff McWhorter.

He says $13,000 was unaccounted for in that fund. It had gone missing between 2006 and 2007, and Bertelsen was connected to the money.

"He was acting as the treasurer of that committee," says McWhorter.

The county turned over its audit to the state police to have them investigate. Meanwhile Bertelsen still showed up to work every day, he had been since last September while the rest of the county treasurer's staff watched.

"We were watching as closely as we could, the other employees in the office they were keeping their eyes open, we couldn't see any funny business going on," says McWhorter.

In an interview with TV 6 this spring, Bertelsen said he was glad to be back at work. He had taken a 30 day paid leave of absence after his first arrest for theft.

"Advice that I received to do that, so I did," says Treasurer Mike Bertelsen.

He said the theft charge didn't make things at work awkward.

"I was told and knew frankly that if I wanted to keep working that I could, so I decided to and I wanted to," says Bertelsen.

McWhorter says the county can't simply fire Bertelsen after these newest theft charges because he's an elected official. It is looking into having him removed from office. Even though McWhorter says Bertelsen hasn't acted suspiciously since his time on the board.

"He has a new car, but everybody is entitled to a new car, if you make $48,000 a year you should be able to afford a new car," says McWhorter.

He says the county will be pressing charges, and hopes to recover the missing money.

Bond was set at $75,000 dollars.

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