Former Northeast Missouri Town Clerk Sentenced for $315K Embezzlement

October 15, 2021

The former town clerk of a small rural community in northeast Missouri was sentenced Wednesday to 18 months in federal prison and ordered to pay back $315,000 to the town.

Tracey Ray, 48, pleaded guilty in June to wire fraud and federal program theft. She also faces state charges for allegedly shooting a sheriff and a deputy in 2019.

Ray was the longtime city clerk in Center, a town of 500 residents 110 miles north of St. Louis. The U.S. Attorney’s office in St. Louis said that Ray used town funds to pay for charges on her personal credit card for things such as travel, entertainment and store purchases.

Prosecutors say Ray hid her crimes by falsifying bank records on financial reports.

The state charges include four felony counts for an exchange of gunfire that injured the Ralls County sheriff and a deputy on July 2, 2019, the day city officials questioned her about financial concerns. Ray also was injured in the shooting. She was fired the next day.

That case is scheduled for trial in November.