Former city employee charged in Cherryville embezzlement

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CHERRYVILLE, N.C. - Gaston County's District Attorney says there were additional accusations in the case of a former Cherryville employee accused of stealing thousands of dollars from the town.

Jennifer Hoyle was arrested on Friday and charged with embezzling more than $2,500 since January. Hoyle was once the manager of the Cherryville utilitites commission.

"I personally don't believe it. My sister is a wonderful person, she is unique in her own way," said Heide Neal, Hoyle's sister.

Gaston County's District Attorney Locke Bell said Hoyle was initially accused of embezzling somewhere between $80,000 and $100,000 dollars, but his office decided to only charge her with 10 of those cases.

He said that was because the range of punishment would have been the same.

"It's a sad situation all the way around," said Walter Ballard. He reached out to Eyewitness News, frustrated to see another case like this.

In December an audit showed a Cherryville employee rang up nearly $4,000 on the towns credit card on personal items.

In February, Gaston County cut the Cherryille Rescue Squad's funding and shut it down because of questions about the handling of money.

Bell said it is the policy of his office to seek restitution.

He said if Hoyle is found guilty she could be responsible for paying back all of the money she was accused of taking, even though she didn't face charges for it.