Woman arraigned on grand theft charge

Photo by Janelle Patterson Debra Davis, 57, of 130 Wilson Ave., Newport, enters a plea of not guilty during her arraignment for grand theft in Washington County Common Pleas Court Friday.

A Newport woman accused of grand theft of $138,942.49 from George Broughton; Broughton Commercial Properties, LLC; and GWB Sales, Inc., was granted a personal recognizance bond Friday in Washington County Common Pleas Court.

Debra Davis, 57, of 130 Wilson Ave., Newport, appeared for arraignment on the fourth-degree felony before Washington County Common Pleas Judge John Halliday Friday.

“No person for purposes of providing the owner of property or services shall knowingly obtain or exert control over the properties or services of another beyond the scope of the express or implied consent of the owner or a person authorized to give consent,” Halliday explained of the charge. “The amount is more than $7,500 but less than $150,000 and that’s what makes it a fourth-degree felony.”

George and Nancy Broughton were in the gallery watching the arraignment Friday, and consulted with Washington County Prosecutor Nicole Coil following the hearing’s conclusion.

“We discovered it when she got sick, she had been handling the credit card bills and we started looking at the charges and realized they were for things that had not been approved,” George Broughton explained.

Coil said the credit card charges varied, but were also allegedly hidden through different accounts to various buildings owned by Broughton and his companies.

“From gambling to hotels to daycare for her grandchildren to Ely Chapman to Walmart expenses, it ran the gamut,” Coil described.

“Even water bills for her house,” added Broughton. “That was a red flag, why am I paying a water bill, what do I have in Newport, Ohio?”

“Basically she was funding her personal life,” said Coil. “For a conservative date we said (this started) Jan. 1, 2015.”

“But then accounting-wise, she would bury it in different buildings, she stole from my whole family,” said Broughton. “We’re just now getting it straight. … She’d expense these different places.”

“She would call maybe a daycare charge a new table for the new Broughton center on 821,” said Coil.

“It was very calculated, and it’s sad,” said Broughton. “My goal is to make sure people are aware of this … I loved her mother, and it’s very sad. I want to make sure other small companies know especially to monitor those credit cards … Now I look at every expense.”

Halliday ordered as a condition of her bond, that Davis not only have no contact with Broughton or the two companies which he owns, but also not set foot on the premises of any of his properties.

Davis pleaded not guilty of the felony, and is next scheduled to appear before Halliday on Sept. 28 for a final pretrial hearing at 10 a.m. and a jury trial beginning on Oct. 15.

If found guilty of the felony, Halliday said, Davis could be amenable to community control, with the option of prison time afforded to the court, for up to five years and may be assessed an additional $5,000 fine in addition to whatever restitution may be deemed appropriate.

Janelle Patterson may be reached at



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