Lafayette County Treasurer Indicted for Stealing $162,000, Pleads Not Guilty

A federal grand jury has indicted the Lafayette County treasurer on two counts tied to embezzling at least $162,000 from the Lafayette County Treasurer's Office.

Keesha Rose, 36, who is still serving as Lafayette County's treasurer and tax collector, has been charged with two counts of theft of a program receiving federal funds in excess of at least $5,000, according to a news release from the office of U.S. Attorney Conner Eldridge.  

The grand jury indicted Rose on Jan. 29. On Friday, she pleaded not guilty to the charges in U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Bryant's courtroom. If convicted, she'll have to forfeit $162,275, which is the amount allegedly stolen from the county office, the indictment said.

The Lafayette County treasurer's office refused Arkansas Business' requests to interview Rose and referred questions to County Judge Joe Sanders, who was out of the office Friday afternoon.

The indictment, unsealed Friday afternoon, said Rose took the money between January 2011 and September 2012. The alleged crime was discovered as a result of a legislative audit, the news release said.

"We remain committed to investigating and prosecuting public officials that abuse the trust placed in them by embezzling public funds," Eldridge said in the news release. "Such conduct offends taxpayers and citizens as well as the vast majority of public officials who dedicate themselves to service day in and day out."

A trial date has not been set.