A Houston man entered a guilty plea in a theft case involving Piney Township.

A Houston man entered a guilty plea last week to stealing nearly $10,000 from Piney Township through credit card transactions.

Officials said Jackie A. Cooper, 52, entered the plea in Texas County Circuit Court and was placed on four years of probation. He resigned his Piney Township board position in July 2012 after allegations surfaced related to charges made on credit cards.

Under the plea bargain, Cooper must complete 100 hours of community service and serve seven days in jail. He is not to seek any elected position or work for the county. Circuit Judge Bill Hickle said Cooper has paid about $9,450 in restitution with a hearing planned later related to any other monies due. Two board members said they were unaware of the existence of four fuel credit cards and knew of only two used by the township’s two workers. The revelation sparked an investigation by the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Another former township official, Roger Martin, is to stand trial Jan. 23-24. He remains free on bond. His son also is charged with a misdemeanor stealing offense.

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