A former resident of Panaca and Caliente, 56-year old Jerri Rae Elliott, wanted for theft and forgery in Lincoln County, was arrested on a suspicion of DUI in North Platte, Neb., by the Nebraska Highway Patrol, this past weekend.
Upon investigation, Nebraska authorities learned Elliott is wanted on a fugitive felony warrant on charges of theft and embezzlement in Nevada.
District Attorney Daniel Hooge said Elliott had been charged in Meadow Valley Justice Court on one count of theft and 68 counts of forgery, but had fled the county before being taken into custody.
Sheriff Kerry Lee said the charges stem from when Elliott worked as the secretary for the Panaca Irrigation Company.
Panaca Irrigation Company, said Lee, “administers the water from Panaca spring and the water that goes to the farms and gardens. Many people have shares of water, and Elliot was the secretary for the company.”
Over a two-year period, from 2010 to 2012, she began to forge checks totaling $28,723.57 in unauthorized funds. Lee said, “She had been embezzling money monthly out of the accounts from the irrigation company.”
Lee said his office began investigating the case in February 2013, presented the information to the District Attorney’s office, and a felony warrant for Elliott was issued by the Justice Court Judge Mike Cowley.
Lee thought Elliott had left Nevada in January, after becoming aware of felony charges against her, and his office then issued a fugitive felony warrant, as well as began working to obtain from the Attorney General’s office what is called a Governor’s warrant.
“A Governor’s warrant is from state to state,” Lee explained, “which the Nevada AG’s office will send to the state of Nebraska, which means that any amount of bail for Elliot would be denied.”
He said Elliot was arrested on the DUI charge before the Governor’s warrant was completed, but they will go ahead and complete the warrant, which will then be applied. “Hopefully we’ll be able to get that done before she might be able to bail out of jail on the fugitive felony warrant.”
Lee said the investigation was long and involved, “Quite a long process, very painstaking. A lot of man hours went into this.”
Elliott is presently waiting to answer the charges of drunk driving in Nebraska and will be held for extradition back to Nevada.
Lee did not know why Elliott went to Nebraska, but they were able to learn of a North Platte address for her, and confirmed she did renew her driver’s license there.