EARLIER: Charges now total 39 in law office case

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By Lisa King

A Shelby County woman was arraigned Wednesday on 19 counts of theft by deception in a criminal case that began last year.

The 19 charges are in addition to about 20 similar charges that Jody Wills incurred after she was arrested in September 2008 on theft-related charges connected with alleged embezzlement of funds from her former employer, attorney Mark Dean.

According to court documents, Wills, wife of former Shelby County deputy Daniel Wills, embezzled escrow account funds of $600,000 from the Dean Law Office from 2003 through 2005. Additionally, she is accused of kiting $2,609,672 in funds as well.

During that time, she was the preparer of closing documents and the issuer of checks, billings and payoffs. Her position also allowed her access to the law office's operating and escrow accounts.

Wills was indicted on 11 counts of theft by deception over $300 on Nov. 26, 2008, some related charges after that, and most recently, on 19 indictments on Nov. 4, 2009.

Wells was arraigned before being arrested, in this case, because she already had a court date, and at that time, she was advised to turn herself in to the jail, said Shelby County Commonwealth’s Attorney Laura Donnell.

“We allowed her to remain on the same bond for that case [ongoing investigation] because she had already made a previous bond and the matters were stemming out of the same criminal act,” she said.

After being released from jail on her own recognizance, Wills was given a court date of Wednesday at 9 a.m. in Shelby Circuit Court.