Former treasurer of Centre County Affordable Housing Coalition charged with theft

lfalce@centredaily.comFebruary 21, 2014 

A Centre Hall woman is facing charges that she stole more than $11,000 from a local nonprofit organization.

According to court documents, Kelly Jo McMurtrie, 40, was the treasurer of the Centre County Affordable Housing Coalition. On Nov. 20, she walked into a meeting with Chairwoman Elizabeth Gretzler and Secretary Debra Homan, handed them the bank books and a letter, and left, according to court documents.

The letter was an apology and a confession to taking money, the documents show. McMurtrie asked that no legal action be taken and that she have the opportunity to pay the money back.

According to the complaint, Gretzler and Homan found that 22 checks had been written between Nov. 21, 2012, and Nov. 8, 2013.

The list of checks included in the filing shows that the largest, for $2,000, was written to McMurtrie’s boyfriend. The other 21 checks were written to McMurtrie herself, and ranged from $100 to $1,600, according to court documents.

In the 30 days before her confession, McMurtrie wrote herself seven checks totaling $4,700, according to court documents.

Ralph Ralston, State College police detective, wrote in his affidavit of probable cause that between Nov. 20, 2013, and the filing date of Dec. 10, 2013, $7,000 had been repaid.

McMurtrie is charged with theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property. A preliminary hearing was waived on those charges.

The next court appearance is scheduled to be a pretrial conference in March. She is free on $10,000 unsecured bail.

McMurtrie was a certified housing counselor trained in credit counseling with Community Action of Central Pennsylvania in its Bellefonte office, according to that organization’s website. The Clearfield office confirmed Friday that she was no longer employed there.

“We are saddened by the events that took place; however, we hold Kelly McMurtrie and her family close in our thoughts and prayers,” said Faith Ryan, who took over the housing coalition chairmanship in 2014. “The coalition membership continues to focus their time and attention toward addressing Centre County’s affordable housing crisis.”

Follow Lori Falce on Twitter @LoriFalce.

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