WAVERLY — After months of investigations, former Pike County Sheriff Charlie Reader was sentenced to prison Wednesday after pleading guilty to stealing currency obtained from prior arrests, along with covering his tracks.

Judge Patricia Cosgrove sentenced the former sheriff to three years in prison on charges relating to theft while in office, tampering with evidence, as well as having a conflict of interest.

Allegedly, Reader’s gambling debt amounted to more than $17,000 between 2016 and 2018, according to the state auditor’s offices.

Following the announcement of the former sheriff’s sentencing, Ohio State Auditor Keith Faber released a statement regarding the incident.

“Charlie Reader was entrusted to enforce the law in his community and literally gambled it away,” Faber said. “His choices do not diminish the dedication of the thousands of law enforcement [officers] across Ohio that willingly sacrifice, serve and protect us every day — these men and women deserve our utmost respect. I commend the quality and committed investigators and prosecutors who unearthed his misconduct and ultimately brought him to justice.”

Reader pled guilty on Sept. 24, 2020 to charges involving two counts of theft in office, a felony in the fourth degree, two counts of tampering with evidence, a felony in the third degree, and one count of conflict of interest, a first-degree misdemeanor. Judge Cosgrove was appointed by the Ohio Supreme Court for the sentencing hearing, according to the state auditor’s office.

All charges against the former sheriff related to evidence bags holding seized currency by law enforcement — found in his possession. The conflict of interest was in reference to Reader’s purchase of a Nissan Versa at the Pike County Sheriff’s Auction of seized vehicles, the state auditor noted.

“Reader had a straw buyer purchase the vehicle for $2,000,” the state auditor’s office detailed. “Several months after the purchase, Reader sold it for $5,500.”

Reader was tearful in court as he read his final statements to Judge Cosgrove.

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