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Indiana State Police Search Owen Co. Council Member's Home
Updated November 20, 2014 7:05 AM | Filed under: Crime
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(GOSPORT) - Indiana State Police officers spent several hours Tuesday searching Angie Lawson's home near Gosport to locate hundreds of items -- from diamond rings to a Shiatsu foot massager -- that the Owen County Council member and former county auditor is suspected of buying with the county's Walmart credit cards.

ISP is in the midst of a months-long investigation into Lawson's suspected misuse of at least five Walmart credit cards issued to Owen County.

According to preliminary reports, Lawson may have spent $340,000 in county funds to purchase items for herself and her family.

Prosecutors have not yet charged Lawson with a crime, but the case is an active investigation.

Owen County Auditor Mike Wood told investigators he became suspicious when he received an invoice from Wal-Mart with a P.O. Box listed as an address.

"Mr. Wood said he had never seen a billing statement from Walmart in eighteen months he had been auditor," read court documents.

When Wood looked closer, he found purchases made in Corona, California, and "knew the account was being misused."

According to court records, during the execution of a search warrant, investigators discovered that Angie Lawson had logged into her web-based software program and deleted her account and all work-related files.

"The deleting of the files by Angie Lawson was not work related, was against policy and was detrimental to the daily functions of the Auditor's office, per Auditor Mike Wood," read court records.

Preliminary Indiana State Police reports indicate 56-year-old Lawson went on shopping sprees often, sometimes spending more than $2,000 in one transaction.

In court documents unsealed by Monroe Circuit Judge Marc Kellams, an ISP detective alleges Lawson diverted the Walmart bills to a post office box she shared with her husband and daughter, then issued online check payments using electronic signatures without sending the bills through her office and on to the county commissioners for review.

When the payments appeared in county bank statements, there would be check numbers correlating with dollar amounts, but the check recipients are not listed.

Court documents in the case state that there might be as many as 75 county-issued Walmart cards circulating and that Lawson may have given some to family members and friends.

She is also suspected of spending more than $18,000 in county funds for mail-order novelty items purchased from the Oriental Trading Co. and paying with a county check; not paying almost $50,000 in county health insurance premiums; and siphoning thousands from a county account that pays lawyers to represent indigent clients.

Lawson has not been charged with any crimes. Morgan County Deputy Prosecutor Bob Cline, who is overseeing the investigation, has yet to file any criminal charges and would not saywhen charges might come.

Lawson was terminated from her job as a deputy in the Owen County Auditor's Office in August after the allegations arose. Her annual salary was $27,860.

She was the Republican precinct committee woman in Wayne Township 2, where her husband, Larry, was the vice precinct committeeman, but they have resigned in light of the suspicions of financial malfeasance. Lawson also has resigned as treasurer of the Owen County Republican Party.

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