Former SAAA CEO pleads not guilty

Helen Cockrell, the former chief executive officer of the Shenandoah Area Agency on Aging, pleaded not guilty to four counts of embezzlement at an arraignment Tuesday in Warren County Circuit Court.

Judge Dennis L. Hupp set trial dates of Sept. 23 and Sept. 24.

The charges against Cockrell are the product of a state police investigation into SAAA finances dating back to July 2010. The SAAA Board of Directors fired Cockrell, of Rileyville, in September 2011 after staff members and the state Department for the Aging uncovered what they claimed to be irregularities in how money was being handled at the agency.