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Fulton councilwoman to stand trial on Gwinnett theft charges

A Hapeville city councilwoman is scheduled to stand trial next week on charges out of Gwinnett County, where she’s accused of conning her brother-in-law out of more than $100,000 just before his death.

The Gwinnett case against Ruth Braley Barr is separate from a sprawling state investigation into her tax preparation business.

Barr, a financial planner and accountant, was indicted in Gwinnett on Nov. 4, 2015, one day after being elected to Hapeville’s City Council. The single count of theft by taking she’ll face at the trial expected to begin Monday stems from an incident in late 2013. 

According to authorities, Barr’s brother-in-law, Gwinnett resident David Bass, gave her more than $109,000 in retirement funds while he was sick in the hospital. Barr purportedly vowed to use the money for a real estate investment. 

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The investment was never made and Bass later discovered Barr had deposited the money into her personal account, according to authorities. 

Barr and her attorneys have called the issue a “family matter” and denied any wrongdoing.

The theft case and a subsequent investigation by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Channel 2 Action News eventually led the Georgia Department of Revenue to take a closer look at Barr’s tax preparation business, B&B Accounting and Tax Services. 

Barr was arrested in January as part of the state’s investigation, one of the largest it’s ever undertaken. The investigation involves tax returns Barr’s firm prepared for more than 7,700 people.

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