Appearing before Superior Court Judge Robert Duber Monday, former Gila County public fiduciary Rita Riell-Corbin pleaded not guilty to charges of fraud, theft, misuse of public funds, conflict of interest and perjury.
Riell-Corbin, who had been a county employee for 13 years, was fired in January 2000 on suspicion of using public funds to supplement her $33,453-a-year salary. She is now living in Mesa.
The case was turned over to the Arizona Auditor General's office, and after months of investigation, investigators concluded that she embezzled at least $1,177,884 from about 130 wards of the state. Public fiduciaries are responsible for the management of estates of people deemed by the court to be incapable of handling their own affairs due to physical or mental impairment.
Duber said a Cochise County judge will preside over the trial, and the exact date of Riell-Corbin's July pretrial conference will depend on the judge's availability.