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Ware faces more charges

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By Tom Wilmoth

    The former Bedford County Board of Supervisors member, charged with embezzlement and money laundering, has been indicted on additional charges following the meeting of a Bedford County grand jury earlier this month.
    The grand jury indicted Earl Anthony (Tony) Ware of Big Island on an additional 11 counts, five for embezzlement and six for money laundering. Those are in addition to the 14 felony charges for embezzlement and money laundering filed earlier against Ware this year.
    A six month investigation by  the  Virginia   State  Police resulted in Ware’s original arrest in June. The original charges stemmed from Ware’s connection to the Big Island Fire Department and the estate of Hattie Routon.
    Botetourt County Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney John Alexander, who is serving as special prosecutor on the case, said the additional charges deal with Ware acting as Routon’s executor, prior to her death.
    In a statement released by the Big Island Volunteer Fire Company following Ware’s arrest, the department stated that officers in the department began to to notice financial discrepancies in late fall 2011. Because of those, the department contacted the Virginia State Police for an investigation, and contracted a private attorney to look over its interests.
    Two of the charges against Ware, 66, pertain to Ware’s work with the Big Island Fire Company’s finances, four charges are in connection with a benefit held for children whose mother had died in which some funds came up missing and the rest were in connection with his service as co-executor of the estate. Alexander said the embezzlement charges stem from Ware allegedly taking the money while the money laundering charges related to allegedly changing the status of that money.
    The investigation has been ongoing since December 2011. Ware has been released on $20,000 bond. Ware’s trial on all the charges has been scheduled for Jan. 15.