Former Wendell official sentenced

Staff WriterOctober 21, 2006 

In a move that may bolster Wendell's civil lawsuit against its former finance director, Barbara Archer Raper pleaded guilty last week to embezzling more than $80,000 from the town.

Raper, 70, was sentenced to a prison term of five to six months in Wake County Superior Court on Oct 11. Raper's sentence was suspended, however, and she was placed on three years of supervised probation. She was also ordered to pay $12,224 in restitution to the town of Wendell and the State Bureau of Investigation, and to undergo a mental health assessment.

Raper worked as Wendell's finance manager for 34 years. She resigned in November after being placed on administrative leave.

In early September, Raper was charged with embezzling $83,759 from the town, though Wendell officials believe she stole much more. The town's audit found that $276,764 had been misappropriated since early 2000.

After concluding authorities do not have enough proof to criminally charge Raper with stealing that much, the town filed a civil suit in an attempt to recover $276,764. The suit claims Raper took public money by altering checks and financial documents and concealing or destroying records.

The lawsuit shows that the town intends to go after Raper's assets, which include more than 100 acres of property with a tax value of more than $800,000.

Raper's attorney could not be reached for comment Friday.

Staff writer David Bracken can be reached at 829-4548 or david.bracken@newsobserver.com.

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