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Former commissioners' assistant accused of stealing money from county

By Daymond Steer
OSSIPEE — A former executive administrative assistant for the Carroll County commissioners was indicted for allegedly stealing money from the county.
The Carroll County Superior Court Grand Jury's indictment, which was handed down Feb. 22, accuses Loreen LaRochelle, 50, of Ossipee, of theft by unauthorized taking. The alleged crime took place between Jan. 24,  2012 and Dec. 31, 2012, the indictment states. The indictment alleged LaRochelle "obtained blank Carroll County checks, made them out to herself then endorsed and deposited the checks in her personal checking account which totaled in excess of $1,500."
The Carroll County Sheriff's Office performed the investigation.
The indictment means that the Grand Jury found that there's enough evidence to bring the case against LaRochelle to trial. LaRochelle, who is not in custody at this time, will be arraigned on March 13 in Carroll County Superior Court. Bail will be established at the arraignment.
LaRochelle had no comment when reached on Tuesday.
Because of the amount of money LaRochelle allegedly stole, the crime is being charged as a class-A felony which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison, a $4,000 fine and five years probation.
County attorney Robin Gordon declined to say how much money was allegedly taken.
"I think later on, when we get into the restitution, I'll be able to disclose that," said Gordon of the amount of money LaRochelle allegedly stole.
According to the county's human resources department, LaRochelle began working at the county in 2004 and she left in January.
County commission vice chair David Babson felt a sense of betrayal because someone he trusted has been accused of stealing from the county. He said it would take a desperate person to commit a crime like that.
"It's very, very sad," said Babson.
Babson expects that there will be more security precautions put in place to prevent such incidents from happening again. Babson hopes the allegation won't reflect badly on the county business office or the commissioners.
County commissioner Asha Kenney said LaRochelle's indictment is a "very unfortunate situation." She said it's an example of why a county administrator position should be created. Kenney said an administrator could provide additional oversight of employees.
Commission chair David Sorensen could not be reached.
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