Washington Township small claims court clerk accused of embezzling money to feed drug addiction

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INDIANAPOLIS (Feb. 18, 2015) – A former clerk for Washington Township small claims court is accused of stealing thousands of dollars to feed a drug addiction, court documents reveal.

Raven Harvell, 29, was arrested Tuesday. She faces charges of theft and official misconduct.

According to court documents, Harvell stole more than $28,000 in checks and nearly $30,000 in cash from the court. She said she “took unauthorized control of the checks and cash” and failed to return the money because of a cocaine addiction. Harvell, the daughter of City-County Councilor Joe Simpson, worked as a clerk for the small claims court for about two years.

She said most of the cash was gone but told a judge she still had some of the missing checks. A total of $58,266.47 was missing, court documents said.

A search of her home turned up eight checks made payable to the Washington Township Division of Small Claims Court, investigators said.

When police interviewed Harvell, she told them she developed a drug addiction and stopped depositing the payments she received for the court. She began keeping the cash from payments and also stopped depositing checks and money orders.

She said she “knew what she was doing was wrong and illegal but couldn’t stop,” according to court documents.