Westmoreland woman waives hearing on flight to avoid theft charges

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A Westmoreland County woman accused of stealing from her former employer, then fleeing to the Middle East waived a preliminary hearing on the latter charges this morning.

Patricia Keller, 64, of Hempfield was charged with flight to avoid apprehension and default in required appearance after authorities said she skipped town roughly a month before she was scheduled to appear in court on the theft charges.

She was on the lam for more than two years before she was arrested in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in April.

A registered nurse, Ms. Keller worked as officer manager at Tri-County Occupational Medicine in February 2003 until she was fired in May 2009 after investigators said her boss found $217,000 had been misappropriated.

Ms. Keller was arrested on those charges in April 2010 and released on her own recognizance because of her age and previous clean record. In February 2011, detectives said she didn't show up for a scheduled court date, about a month after they believe she fled overseas.

A status conference on the theft charges is scheduled for Aug. 22, according to court records. She remains at the Westmoreland County Prison.

breaking - neigh_east

Molly Born: mborn@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1944 or on Twitter @borntolede.


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