former clerk pays up

Thursday, November 02, 2017 16:26 PM
Written by Stan Maddux
Category: Local News

The former Kingsford Heights clerk is now on home detention for six months after paying in full the court ordered amount she owed the town.

Patricia Arnett presented a cashier's check for just over $5,000 to the LaPorte County clerk's office Friday then was sentenced.

Two days prior to that, a guilty plea obligating her to pay back the money was rejected by LaPorte Circuit Court Judge Tom Alevizos after she doubted her ability to meet the financial terms because of not having a job.

Her attorney, Nelson Pichardo, quickly announced she did have the money and offered payment that same day for the judge to go ahead with sentencing.

Alevizos not willing to risk the town being stuck with the tab in a deal he already felt was lenient refused to change his mind and gave the defense and prosecution time to plan their next move.

Arnett, 47, is now convicted of level 6 felony official misconduct for writing down more hours on her time cards than what she actually worked as clerk during 2016 and prior to her resignation early this year.

While on home detention, Arnett must wear an electric sensor that can detect through the skin if alcohol is consumed.

She blamed alcohol for the overbilling primarily on days she failed to show up for work or reported late and left early and other legal problems.

Arnett must also serve 18 months probation and have no contact with her former deputy clerk, Alivia Walker, who's now the clerk, and members of the town council.

On September 29, Arnett was also sentenced to another 18 months probation for invasion of privacy and battery.

Those cases are related to her violating a protective order and punching another woman in the face while intoxicated, according to court records.

Arnett in June was pulled over in her Hummer after leaving town hall because of a warrant out for her arrest on invasion of privacy.

She pushed away from officers and had to be physically restrained with leg shackles after placed into a police vehicle and kicking the dashboard, police said.

Police said Arnett kept being verbally abusive while transported to the county jail.