Former water clerk pleads guilty to theft

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – A former Bellaire water clerk pleaded guilty Tuesday to theft in office and tampering with evidence, felonies of the third degree, and tampering with records, a felony of the fourth degree.

Lisa Thai Flaherty, 38, 4158 Franklin St., Bellaire, will be sentenced Nov. 5.

On April 6, the state auditor’s office was contacted to investigate the suspected theft of utility payments. One day afterward, Flaherty disappeared from the area. Records on the computer system also vanished.

She was taken into custody in June in New York.

Since April, the state has conducted a special audit of the water department to determine the total amount missing.

The state recommended 18 months and will make no opposition to the last six served in EOCC. Flaherty has agreed to forfeit her PERS account and give restitution.

“We’re asking for a prison term,” said Berhalter. “The state auditor’s office did an outstanding job in investigating this matter, and the theft of the public’s money is something we always take seriously. Very seriously.”

DeFrank can be reached at