Merkel Secretary Accused of Stealing Thousands from City Funds

TAYLOR COUNTY, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) - Merkel's City Secretary was arrested by the Texas Rangers for allegedly stealing thousands of dollars from the City by cashing checks in her name and using a City credit card to get cash advances and pay for online gambling for over a year.

Gwendolyn Wetsel, 55, was booked into the Taylor County Jail on a Theft by Public Servant charge Tuesday then released after posting a $5,000 bond.

Court documents say the Texas Rangers began investigating Merkel's finances in February of 2016 after City officials came forward with reports of missing money.

In January of 2017, the investigating Rangers learned Wetsel, "had been issuing checks to herself then deleting check from the City records once the checks had been cleared in her bank account," according to the documents, which also say that "in order to make the ledger balance, Wetsel would alter amounts of legitimate checks to cover the amount taken." 

The Rangers also learned that Wetsel had charged over $11,000 to a credit card in the City of Merkel's name she had originally obtained legitimately through Sam's Club.

The documents state online payments for this card were connected to one of the City of Merkel's bank accounts.

The City of Merkel became aware of the credit card when the company contacted them about an outstanding balance of over $11,000.

Investigators then obtained statements which revealed there Wetsel would take monthly cash advances on the card and the card also showed numerous online purchases of online gambling credits, according to the documents.

The exact amount of money Wetsel stole from the City has not been disclosed but court records show it's between $2,500 and $30,000. 

The City of Merkel previously reported a City employee had stolen $20,000 from the Water Department by altering financial documents from October of 2014 to February of 2016. It's currently unclear if Wetsel is connected to this incident as well. 



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