Christine Stulsky, 64, appeared in court Friday flanked by her daughters.
Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said Stulsky resigned this week as senior clerk at the Southold Town Justice Court after serving the town for more than 30 years. The investigation is continuing, he said.
She is accused of stealing $50,000 in bail money from the town in her position as town clerk; her duties included collecting fines deposited from closed cases and depositing bail funds.
Prosecutors said she used the money to buy groceries, pet food and cigarettes.
The district attorney notified him only a few weeks ago of the alleged scheme, said Town Supervisor Scott Russell.
"We have had an auditing firm going over all the financial records," said Russell. "We plan to get some answers and we look forward to working with town justices to put policies and procedures in place to make sure this doesn't happen again."
Many people in Southold know Stulsky personally, and some said people shouldn't rush to judgment
"I know her, I've know the children, I've known the family. she is good people," said resident Bob Scott.
The town is filing an insurance claim to recoup some of the funds.
"I've lived here 40 years and I've never heard of a scandal, but I guess you never know," said Betty Fingerle, a Southold resident.