Probe continues: SBI still investigating former Cooleemee clerk

Published 9:16 am Saturday, March 23, 2024

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By Mike Barnhardt

Enterprise Record

The investigation into embezzlement by a former Cooleemee town clerk is ongoing, according to the SBI.

There is no expected time for the investigation to be completed, said Angie Grube, SBI public information director.

The SBI’s financial crimes unit received a request from  the Davie County Sheriff’s Office on July 31, 2023 to investigate allegations of embezzlement involving Aaron Thies, the town’s clerk who was fired the day after that request.

“The investigation remains ongoing,” Grube said. “No additional information is available at this time and no charges have been filed.”

The town filed a civil lawsuit last year, accusing Thies of embezzling more than $250,000 from the town. The suit claimed that Thies: cashed checks for illegitimate expenses, awarded himself bonuses without the board’s knowledge, altered payroll amounts and time worked, and altered financial statements and receipts.

The suit claimed the embezzlement started soon after Thies was hired in 2021.

“He repeatedly abused his position of trust and responsibility to engage in an ongoing clandestine scheme to embezzle funds from the Town of Cooleemee and secretly convert such funds to his own use, benefit and enjoyment,” the suit, filed by Mocksville attorney, Brandy Koontz, claimed.

Former Mayor Jessica Almond and former board member Jeannie Taylor were added to that suit later, accused of signing checks without knowing legitimate reasons for the expenditures.