The former borough manager in Braddock pleaded guilty Friday in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court to stealing nearly $180,000 from the distressed community since 2008.
Ella B. Jones, 58, of Turtle Creek, pleaded to theft and forgery charges and will be sentenced June 1.
Ms. Jones forged the names of three borough council members and misappropriated 153 borough checks made out to herself and to the borough, prosecutors said, stealing $170,428. She used more borough money to pay off $7,720 in credit card bills.
Judge Jill Rangos will likely order her to pay the entire amount as restitution, but Ms. Jones' lawyer, Phillip DiLucente, said she doesn't have the money. She used the funds to pay off gambling debts and credit cards, he said, but he disputes the district attorney's figures and will argue that she owes less.
She faces a maximum of seven years in prison.
Detectives with the district attorney's office began the investigation in February 2010, after a Braddock police officer tipped them off about the missing money.
Ms. Jones was hired in 2000 and fired last year after the theft came to light.