A woman was arrested and charged with extortion March 6 after she allegedly threatened to expose former New Albany finance director Chad Fuller regarding “an ongoing situation he has had since the beginning of December 2015.”
Molly R. Jones, 32, whose listed address is 2825 Reynoldsburg-New Albany Road, Blacklick, was charged with extortion, a third-degree felony, according to Franklin County Municipal Court records.
Beverly Huff with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office said Jones was taken into custody March 6 at the Franklin County Correction Center, 2460 Jackson Pike, after turning herself in. She was arraigned March 7 and posted $585 bond, according to court records. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. March 16 in Franklin County Municipal Court.
The court had issued an arrest warrant for her Jan. 13.
New Albany police had been working with the Franklin County Prosecutor's Office throughout the investigation, which is ongoing, according to city spokesman Scott McAfee.
McAfee said he expects a grand jury to determine whether the case moves forward. The police investigation will continue until the case reaches its end, he said.
City leaders told ThisWeek Oct. 6 about the incident leading to the arrest.
McAfee and police Chief Greg Jones said Fuller had told police at the end of May he had been forced to pay two individuals $70,250 since December 2015.
McAfee said New Albany officials have no reason to believe city funds could have been involved. He said at least three people must sign off on any financial transactions for the city, and the city's auditor is aware of the investigation.
Chief Jones said the alleged extortion began in December, when Fuller agreed to meet the woman via an internet dating website. He said it appeared to be a legal business but police do not know if it is used to facilitate prostitution.
Fuller canceled the date, Chief Jones said, but paid the woman after she asked for money. The woman and a male companion began to request payment from him in exchange for not ruining his business reputation, according to the police report.
The city is seeking applications for a new finance director, McAfee said, and the salary range for that position is $102,500 to $117,875. Fuller's total annual compensation, which includes salary and the value of benefits, is $162,495, McAfee said.
Fuller has worked for the city for almost four years; his last day will be March 17, McAfee has said.
However, Fuller's departure isn't connected to that incident, McAfee said.
"It has nothing to do with it," he said.
Fuller said previously he would begin his new position with Licking County, a hybrid finance and information technology role, March 20. Fuller previously worked with the county for 16 years, rising to chief deputy auditor.
Check ThisWeekNEWS.com for updates and read the March 16 edition of ThisWeek New Albany News.