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Ellie Antoine pleads guilty in federal court

Former Recorder of Deeds cops plea in federal court

PHILADELPHIA - A former Berks County row officer has pleaded guilty in federal court to charges she defrauded the county of tens of thousands of dollars.

Ellie Antoine reached an agreement with federal prosecutors Thursday for her to plead guilty to four of eight charges against her, including mail fraud, wire fraud and willfully filing false tax returns.

Antoine, a former elected recorder of deeds, was indicted in July after a forensic audit determined she overcharged people and businesses between 2004 and 2007, netting herself more than $153,000, authorities said.

Antoine was also accused of not claiming the additional money on her 2006 and 2007 federal income tax returns.

"Ellie pleaded guilty because it was the right thing to do," said James Polyak, Antoine's attorney, who declined further comment until sentencing.

If the judge accepts the terms of the plea agreement, Antoine will spend six months in prison, six months on home confinement and three years supervised release. She must also pay $64,265.66 in restitution to Berks County, $9,559 restitution to the Internal Revenue Service and a $15,000 fine.

Formal sentencing is scheduled for May 3. At that time, federal prosecutors said they will dismiss four of the eight counts against Antoine.

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