Court employee faces federal charges in claim about robbery

Ohio

East Cleveland police turned the investigation over to the FBI when surveillance video of the incident “looked really odd to us,” Capt. Scott Gardner said

CLEVELAND (AP) — A Municipal Court employee outside Cleveland faces federal charges of lying to the FBI about claims she was robbed of $18,000 in cash and checks she was supposed to deposit at a bank.

An indictment unsealed Friday in Cleveland charged 25-year-old Laura Smith with three counts of making false statements, Cleveland.com reported. Smith pleaded not guilty. Her federal public defender declined to comment.

The indictment accuses Smith of lying to the FBI about details concerning the purported robbery in September 2018.

The indictment said Smith lied about not making stops during her trip to the bank from East Cleveland Municipal Court, where she is an administrative assistant to Judge William Dawson. A surveillance video shows she stopped at a McDonald’s before arriving at the bank, the indictment said.

She’s also accused of lying about where she parked at the bank and for telling agents she did not use her phone during the trip, a claim refuted by cellphone records, according to the indictment.

East Cleveland police turned the investigation over to the FBI when surveillance video of the incident “looked really odd to us,” Capt. Scott Gardner said.

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