Pella Chronicle

January 8, 2013

Former OTA director indicted

Ottumwa Courier

OTTUMWA — Pam Ward, the former director of the Ottumwa Transit Authority, has been indicted on federal charges for allegedly making false statements to the federal government. The case was unsealed Monday.

The charges mirror the accusation contained in a 2011 state audit that said OTA, which has since become a city department under the name Ottumwa Transit, inflated ridership numbers. Those figures were used to seek grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Each of the four counts against Ward allege she of "willfully [made] materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements," in the grant applications. She has pleaded not guilty, according to court documents.

Ward has been released pending trial, though she has been ordered to surrender her passport.

Ward's trial is currently set to begin March 11.

The state audit included other accusations not included in the federal indictment, including that OTA tampered with timesheets and failed to keep proper records. Ward was fired from her position as OTA director less than a week after the audit was made public.