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      Former Ottumwa Transit Authority director indicted

      The former director of the Ottumwa Transit Authority has been indicted on federal criminal charges.According to federal online court records, a grand jury convened in the Southern District of Iowa returned a four-count indictment against Pam Ward on December 18.The indictment was unsealed this week by the court.The indictment charges Ward with four counts of making false statements to the Department of Transportation regarding ridership numbers.She faces up to five years in prison on each count. She remains free from custody on her own recognizance.

      Court records also indicate Ward's trial is scheduled for March 4, 2013 and she has pleaded not guilty to all four charges.The U.S. Attorney is alleging that Ward made the statements in four consecutive fiscal years beginning in July of 2006.The indictment says that Ward knowingly inflated the ridership numbers in order to obtain federal grant money for OTA.Ward was removed from her position when the improprieties came to light in the fall of 2011.The City of Ottumwa took over day-to-day operations of the transportation agency at that time.

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