Mercer County Treasurer Arraigned - FOX 18 Quad Cities News and Weather

Mercer County Treasurer Arraigned

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Two theft cases against the Mercer County Treasurer moved forward in court Thursday. Two theft cases against the Mercer County Treasurer moved forward in court Thursday.

Two theft cases against the Mercer County Treasurer moved forward in court Thursday.

Treasurer Mike Bertelsen was arrested and charged earlier this month with stealing $13,000 from a County 911 Fund.

Appearing in court with his attorney, Bertelsen pleaded not guilty to the three latest theft charges against him.

He's already pleaded not guilty to a theft charge brought from the Mercer County Republican Central Committee.

He was accused of stealing $800 from that group as well.

The judge Thursday agreed to move both cases out of Mercer County.

"Given that the fact that it would be Mercer County voters that would be jurors, any juror here would be possibly unfair to Mr. Bertelsen," says his attorney Jack Schwartz.

He was happy the judge agreed to move both cases against Bertelsen out of Mercer County. Bertelsen remains on paid leave while the court cases work their way through the system, a process that could take some time.

"We're not sure that all the charges that may be filed have been filed, until the audit is complete," says Schwartz.

The County Board approved moving forward with its regular audit at its last board meeting, but the forensic audit has been on hold. It's expensive, and the county doesn't want to spend money on the rest of a forensic audit if nothing else appears out of order.

"It's going to take a while. It's the county budget, my understanding though is that the county really has a lack of funds to do this. The county is hurting for money and I'm not sure how long it's going to take," says Schwartz.

He says he has not seen any of the evidence against Bertelsen from the State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor's office. He says that's not out of the ordinary, and he believes he will see whatever the state has when the investigations are finished.

"My client is not in a rush to be charged, or tried, and when it comes out and we get tried, we get tried," says Schwartz.

It's process that could take until fall or even later to move forward.

The prosecutor had no further comment after Thursday's hearing.

Bertelsen continues to be paid as the County Treasurer, although the County Board passed a resolution forbidding him from coming to work.

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