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Former assistant clerk at Hampden Superior Court charged with stealing bail money

A former assistant clerk and bail magistrate in Hampden Superior Court is being charged with stealing thousands of dollars in bail money, the attorney general said today.

William L. Eason, 61, of Springfield was charged with two counts of use of an official position to secure an unwarranted privilege and one count of larceny over $250, Attorney General Martha Coakley said in a statement.

The attorney general’s office began an investigation into Eason in April 2013, after the Office of Bail Administration reported the suspected thefts to police, Coakley’s office said.

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Eason worked as the assistant clerk for more than 26 years. During that time, as the bail magistrate, he was authorized to set and take bail, the statement said.

“We allege that this defendant abused his position as a court clerk by taking thousands of dollars in bail money for his own personal use,” said Coakley in the statement. “He was entrusted with bail money and we allege he violated that trust by continually taking the money and attempting to conceal his actions.”

The office’s investigation revealed that from late September 2011 to June 2012, Eason allegedly collected the bail money, and occasionally pocketed some of it for personal use. He then would repay the bail using his own money, said the statement.

From June 2012 to February 2013, however, authorities allege, Eason took the bail money, but largely stopped paying it back. He allegedly took more than $10,800 during that time.

Eason was suspended from his duties pending the investigation and resigned Feb. 12.

The case is being handled by Jim O’Brien, chief of the public integrity division, with assistance from State Police and a financial investigator from the attorney general’s office, said the statement.

Eason is to be arraigned on March 18 in Springfield District Court.

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