CHICAGO (CBS) — A former Merrillville Town Court clerk has pleaded guilty to federal charges of stealing bond money from the court and filing a false tax return.

The guilty pleas by 42-year-old Virlissa Crenshaw of East Chicago were accepted yesterday by a federal judge in Hammond.

When the judge asked Crenshaw why she chose to plead guilty, she said, “Because I am guilty.”

Crenshaw was accused of diverting more than $300,000 in bond payments.

Crenshaw, 42, of East Chicago, was charged with theft from a local government entity and with filing a false tax return for the 2009 tax year.

The offenses relate to Crenshaw’s theft of cash bonds while working as a clerk for the Merrillville Town Court in 2008. Crenshaw was the only one responsible for the bonds during after hours. The Indiana State Board of Accounts discovered in an audit that the records books did not match the actual money collected.

Crenshaw is also being sued by the state for the missing money.

Crenshaw, who is married to a nephew of Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter, signed a plea agreement filed in conjunction with the indictment admitting her guilt to all charges.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser Reports

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