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Sunday May 24th, 2015 7:29PM

Counseling center co-owner faces charges in GBI probe

By Derreck Booth Anchor/reporter
GAINESVILLE - The Director of New Hope Counseling turned herself in to the Hall County Jail Wednesday to face charges in connection with a Georgia Bureau of Investigation probe into the service.

Christine Zurblis, 37, is charged with two counts of false statements and one count of theft by taking in Hall County, according to GBI spokesperson Sherry Lang. Zurblis was transferred to the Union County jail where she was charged with four counts of first degree forgery, according to Lang.

New Hope provided group counseling and drug testing services to the Enotah Judicial Circuit accountability courts.

The investigation started last month, when according to the GBI, Enotah Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Raymond George requested it.

The investigation relates to supplies allegedly purchased by New Hope, but allegedly not provided to the Enotah accountability courts. Judge George noted the accountability courts in Lumpkin and Union Counties were operating with minimal supplies and equipment, according to the GBI.

Agents executed search warrants September 25, at New Hope offices at 322 Spring Street in Gainesville and 330 Dahlonega Street in Cumming.

Kim Williams, Special Agent in Charge at the GBI office in Cleveland, on Thursday said she couldn't go into details on the charges.

"We wouldn't be willing to talk about it at this time since the case will soon be turned over to the district attorney's offices for prosecution."

A few days after the initial search warrants, New Hope owners, Zurblis and Kimberly Waters-Rose, issued a statement through their attorney saying that they believe they are the "victims of a very unfortunate misunderstanding over our accounting and use of supplies and equipment secured under two state grants."

The attorney, Graham McKinnon IV, issued a statement Thursday following the charges being filed against Zurblis.

"I have a great deal of confidence in Christine's character and integrity. She is a great person who is dedicated to helping others. Obviously, we were disappointed to learn of the arrest warrants. Because the government has chosen to take the matter in this direction, we have no choice but go to trial. We must rely upon a jury to dispense justice. In this case, there will be no justice until her name is cleared," McKinnon said.

As far as the case goes, Williams said it is continuing.

"At this time the case is still ongoing on various parts of the information that we received during the course of the service of the search warrants," Williams said.
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