STEUBENVILLE – A former Jefferson County Health Department administrator who gave herself a raise and then forged doctor’s records to cover up the case did just what she was told, a Jefferson County Common Pleas Court judge said Wednesday.
Annette Stewart was accused of theft in office, tampering with records, fraud and unlawful interest in public contracts, her superiors, the late Dr. Frank L. Petrola, long-time chairman of the board and Dr. Frank April 25, 2017 board meeting minutes. J. Petrola, the former health district commissioner who told her to improve her assembly, said she was given a substantial raise of $12 an hour.
Prosecutors argued Stewart pocketed more than $63,000 in department funds she didn’t deserve.
Stewart, according to the lawsuit “Falsified records to increase her salary without her knowledge or acknowledgment.” Board of Health. In October 2017, prosecutors argued that she used her position as an administrator to get her son a job.
“I was instructed to edit the minutes and put the information in there.” Stewart told the jury. I even asked him where to put it.
Stewart On April 25, 2017, she said she was at a board meeting but was scared and had a bathroom emergency, leaving the room without anyone noticing. She said she would not know about the increase until she was ready to send out the meeting minutes before the May board meeting. “When the board president tells you to do something, you do it.”
“Frank L. He asked why my (salary increase) was not there.” She said. “I told him I wasn’t there and… I don’t know about him. I don’t think people know that I left the board meeting; I got up and left.
Although Frank J. While the election of Petrola as commissioner was covered in depth, there was no mention of Stewart’s salary increase in the Herald-Star report.
Frank L. Petrola In 2020, Stewart died two years before the indictment, and his cousin, Frank J. Petrola, was unable to testify. “So all we have is your word.” Assistant District Attorney Anthony Cillo insisted Stewart didn’t thank the board members for the raise or call attention to her changes to the minutes.
Silo also pointed out the discrepancy in Stewart’s statement that she paid herself “$40.01” In some notes and “$42.01 in others” But she pointed out that the misunderstanding was someone else’s priest’s fault, just like her son’s ordination “Registered Hygienist”
“Raising $25,000 doesn’t make me perfect, or anyone else.” Stewart responded and admitted her son had no degree or experience in the field and was an unassigned, seasonal employee, even though the hours were doubled and the paid holidays prosecutors say he shouldn’t have gotten.
“(I don’t approve)” Stewart said.
She also sent the memo, telling jurors that it was not her intention to bar employees who are used to attending other board meetings. “As ordered by Dr. Petrola.”
Defense attorney Dennis McNamara asked Stewart if she knowingly took the money (you) didn’t have access to the records or said it was fraudulent, to which she replied, “no.” She insisted that she would. “He never hired my son, nobody asked him to hire my son.” Frank J., who made that decision, told the jury. She didn’t know it was petrol yet.
Earlier in the day, McNamara asked registered hygienist Carla Gampola about unrest on the staff since Stewart took over, and asked if she was angry after learning other staff members were being held at an out-of-state conference. Because she was told she couldn’t go. “One must stay behind.”
“You do what the boss tells you to do.” Gampola told jurors Stewart. “He wasn’t my day-to-day supervisor, but if she told me to do something, I did it.”
After reviewing time sheets, department payroll and other documents, Auditor Melissa Barnett told jurors there was no record of her son, Jesse Cook, even applying for the job.
They have no (documents) to show that he interviewed or applied. For a job in the health department, she said. “All we got was a letter to the auditor.” Announcing his joining the staff.
“That was (from) Annette Stewart, that was her work.” said Barnett, who testified via Zoom due to illness.
Prosecutors questioned Stewart’s husband, Carl, about the couple’s debts before his wife’s pay raise. Stewart, an SVRTA bus driver, told them before she was diagnosed with advanced COPD. “We had a normal life. I don’t know what you mean by a lot of debt.
“We had credit cards that we paid off.” He stated that he had to resign due to his health and had no health benefits or personal income until his disability was granted a year later. He said his stepson, who died two years ago at age 35, had a substance abuse disorder, but told jurors no drugs were found in his system.