Former Gretna City Administrator Colleen Lawry pleaded not guilty Monday in Sarpy County District Court to a felony theft charge.
District Judge David Arterburn informed Lawry that the theft charge carries a penalty of up to five years in prison and that she could be required to pay restitution.
The judge set a pretrial hearing for Aug. 17.
Lawry, 49, was fired in April and charged with theft after allegedly misusing nearly $1,000 from a Gretna senior citizens fund. The theft charge was filed after prosecutors said she made purchases at several stores, including Victoria's Secret and a liquor store.
Arterburn turned down prosecutor Stephanie Hansen's request to amend Lawry's original case by adding two other charges. Hansen wanted the court to consolidate the case rather than have separate cases.
The judge ruled that the additional charges — felony theft by deception and official misconduct, a misdemeanor — must be filed separately in Sarpy County Court.
In the new charges, filed Thursday, Hansen alleges that Lawry received more than $3,000 in overpayments for educational reimbursements from the City of Gretna while attending Bellevue University.
Gretna's educational reimbursement policy allowed officials to be reimbursed for 50 percent of their tuition-related costs for continuing education.
The official misconduct charge was filed because Lawry “knowingly violated the theft statute” in her capacity as city administrator, Hansen said.
The theft by deception charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. The official misconduct charge carries up to six months in jail.
Lawry and her attorney, Mike Munch, declined to comment as they left the courthouse Monday.
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