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Last updated on Tuesday, December 4, 2012
(NEWBURGH) - 37-year-old Susan Hilgeman, of Newburgh, was sentenced to probation through the residential re-entry program on federal charges of filing false tax returns.
Hilgeman must also pay more than $62,000 in restitution.
Hilgeman is guilty of stealing nearly $300,000 from the Order of the Eastern Star, a women's group affiliated with the Masonic Lodge.
Hilgeman's 80-year-old mother, Marilee Garrison, is scheduled to be tried on a felony conspiracy charge in January 14.
Indiana State Police say they determined the two woman, former Eastern Star's treasurers stole the money from July 2002 through June 2008.
Police say the mother-daughter team drained the non-profit's bank account, the mother first writing checks to her daughter, and then the daughter writing checks to herself.
In an attempt to hide the missing funds from other Eastern Star members, Hilgeman allegedly forged documents to represent bank statements. Eastern Star officials didn't notice the money missing until April of last year.
"To get to such large amounts, you need to do it over a period of time and in this particular situation, you had a closed loop where your check and balance was a mother-daughter team," said Vanderburgh Co. Prosecutor Nick Hermann.
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