Crist waives preliminary hearing

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — St. Clairsville resident Brian Crist appeared before Magistrate Sophia J. Tully in Lincoln County, West Virginia, on embezzlement charges Tuesday.

Crist is the former chief executive officer of Lincoln County Primary Care Center, a nonprofit health care center in Hamlin, West Virginia, where he allegedly used a company credit card and other means to steal in excess of $100,000. He allegedly used the card to purchase items such as cellphones, home improvement items, band equipment and baseball memorabilia. Prosecutors also contend that Crist falsified time sheets and tax returns and had employees perform work on his own property in West Virginia. They also contend he diverted money from the company for his own gain.

Crist chose to waive his preliminary hearing Tuesday. His case will now be sent to circuit court, where it will be heard by a grand jury that will decide whether to hand down any indictments on the charges Crist faces.

He faces four felony charges: embezzlement; falsifying accounts; obtaining money by false pretenses; and computer fraud. Each charge carries a potential sentence of one to 10 years for a guilty verdict. The grand jury convenes Sept. 16-17 in Lincoln County.