A former Eldridge city clerk has pleaded guilty to a charge of theft, Scott County Court records show.

According to document electronically filed Friday and Monday, Denise Benson, 58, of Long Grove, has pleaded guilty to a felony charge of first-degree theft and a serious-misdemeanor charge of non-felonious misconduct in office. Other charges will be dropped as part of the plea, according to court documents.

Denise Benson (Scott County Sheriff’s Office)

More than $76,000 stolen, officials allege

According to an earlier news release, the Scott County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant in June at Benson’s residence to recover stolen property.

Several items were collected as evidence that were included in the State of Iowa Auditor’s Office report as being bought by Benson using the City of Eldridge’s credit card, according to affidavits and a news release.

Benson was arrested by the Scott County Sheriff’s Office, which alleges that, between December 2016 and November 2022, Benson used the city-owned credit card to make unauthorized, personal purchases from Amazon, PayPal, Menards, AmeriGas and other vendors.

The release and affidavits say the charges further allege that she used the city’s checking account to make unauthorized payments to her personal credit cards “and file taxes.” The total amount of funds stolen is $76,717.90, according to the state auditor’s report, the news release says.

In the plea agreement, Benson agrees to pay $36,346.20 in victim restitution to the City of Eldridge.

Benson is set for sentencing Dec. 8 in Scott County Court, records show.