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Evaluation delays hearing for former Salem official charged with embezzlement

Evaluation delays hearing for former Salem official charged with embezzlement

Only $3 for 13 weeks

A preliminary hearing for Salem’s former chief information officer, charged last year with six felony counts of embezzling from the city, has been postponed until next month to allow her to be evaluated for an alternative sentencing program.

Kari Janel Williams, 39, was scheduled for a hearing Tuesday morning in Salem General District Court but is now expected to be back before a judge July 7. She remains free on a $5,000 bond.

Because of the municipal connection, Giles County Commonwealth’s Attorney Bobby Lilly was brought in to handle the case as a special prosecutor.

Both Lilly and defense attorney John Lichtenstein said they were not yet able to discuss the case and could not elaborate on Williams’ request for evaluation.

Online court records show that the offenses Williams is accused of committing allegedly occurred between August and December 2018, but no additional information has been made available.

A search warrant filed last summer in Salem Circuit Court, to examine a home Williams owns, claimed “fraudulent charges ... were made on multiple City of Salem owned and issued credit cards,” and named four purchases: an Apple MacBook Air computer, an upright vacuum, Halloween lights and a card game. All of those items were seized except for the lights, according to the warrant’s inventory.

Williams was hired as Salem’s CIO in November 2015. She was placed on leave in June 2019 and by the end of July was no longer employed, a city spokesman said last year.

The CIO plans, develops, evaluates and coordinates the implementation and maintenance of Salem’s information technology.

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