By NIKKI YOUNK
CRYSTAL FALLS - A former Alpha clerk accused of embezzling money from the village made his first appearance in Iron County Trial Court on Tuesday.
Nicholas John Rickman, 34, of Alpha faces three felony counts of forgery, three felony counts of uttering and publishing, one felony count of embezzlement by a public official-over $50, and one felony count of public officer-embezzlement or diversion of taxes or public moneys.
If convicted on all counts, he could spend up to 99 years in prison.
Although Rickman was only scheduled for a district court arraignment on Tuesday, he also agreed to waive his preliminary examination.
During a preliminary examination, a judge determines whether there is probable cause to believe that a crime was committed and the defendant committed the crime. Probable cause does not indicate guilt.
Since Rickman gave up his right to a preliminary examination, Iron County Trial Court Judge C. Joseph Schwedler immediately bound him over to the circuit court level.
Rickman then entered not guilty pleas to all eight counts.
He is scheduled for a pre-trial conference on Nov. 26.
The charges against Rickman stem from alleged activities that occurred during a five and a half month period between March 1 and Aug. 13.
According to the criminal complaint in the case, Rickman allegedly forged and passed three checks - one for $185, one for $200, and one for $125 - from the village of Alpha's general fund to his own private use.
Rickman's case is the second case of reported embezzlement from the village of Alpha in the past five years.
In 2010, former Alpha clerk Tommie McCarthy was sentenced to one year and one day in prison for embezzling approximately $174,000 of sewer funds from the village between 2007 and 2009.
Nikki Younk's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.