By Staff Reports

GROVE – The wife of a Delaware County commissioner accused of stealing more than $60,000 from her employer is asking for time to hire a forensic accountant, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

Michelle Crowder, 40, of Grove, is charged in McDonald County Associate Circuit Court in Pineville, Mo., with one count of stealing, a class B felony.

She is accused of stealing $62,632.99 from Roper Gas Company in Southwest City, Missouri over the past two years, said Janice Lynne Durbin, prosecuting attorney for McDonald County, Mo.

During Tuesday’s court hearing Crowder’s attorney requested time to hire a forensic accountant, she said.  

“The issue that we are looking at is the exact amount of money that is missing,” Durbin said.

Company officials asked Michelle Crowder her to pay back the money, but Crowder’s husband, Kenneth, offered to pay $35,000 if company officials “would keep it quiet like they did the last theft,” court records show.   

In an earlier interview with Kenneth Crowder, District One County Commissioner for Delaware County, he said his wife denies any wrongdoing but said they were instructed by their attorney not to discuss the case with the media.

In 2005, Michelle Crowder confessed to stealing between $30,000 and $40,000 from the company for her own person use.  The money was paid back and company officials declined to press charges, court records show.

Company officials said they noticed the account receivables were unusually high, so they called for an internal audit which revealed Crowder was keeping two sets of books and had inflated the accounts receivables to $78,671.26 when they were in reality only $16,038.27, the probable cause statement shows.  

Crowder is to return to court Oct. 7.