• 66°

Cordele woman pleads not guilty to federal fraud charges

A Cordele woman plead­ed not guilty Tuesday to five counts of wire fraud and four counts of making false entries in bank records.

Misty McKee, better known as Misty Blanton, was indicted earlier this month in U.S. Fed­eral Court. The indictment alleges that Blanton, “Begin­ning in or about March 2010 and continuing until in or about April 2014… devised a scheme to defraud and obtain money by false and fraudulent pretenses.

“The purpose of the scheme was for defendant to em­bezzle moneys from [an] Ameris Bank money market account… to make purchases for her own personal use and to pay for her own personal expenses and services, includ­ing the purchase of a vehicle, kitchen cabinets, cash withdrawals, and transfers of funds from [the money market] account to her own account, and to make payments on her own personal credit card accounts.”

The owner of the Ameris mon­ey market account is listed only as “D.H.,” but other identifying state­ments in the indictment indicate the owner was the late Donnie Haral­son, who served as sheriff of Crisp County for nearly 27 years before his death in March 2014.

The indictment further alleges Blanton made “false entries in the books, reports, and statements of Ameris Bank, for the purpose of cre­ating a false record of payments she had made to [Haralson] on a mort­gage loan he had made to her…”

After Blanton entered her plea of not guilty, she was released on an unsecured bond of $15,000. A trial date had not been set as of press time.