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Judge Takes Former Auditor's Plea Request Under Consideration
Updated July 14, 2015 7:37 AM
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(INDIANAPOLIS) - A U.S. District Court judge is considering former Owen County Auditor Angie Lawson's request to plead guilty to purchasing more than $310,000 worth of merchandise for herself and her family using county owned credit cards.

If the judge accepts the plea, 58-year-old Lawson could face 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 and may be ordered to pay back the $310,000. A bonding company may pay back most of the stolen money, so in the end Lawson may not have to pay restitution.

No court hearing has been set, so it is unclear when the judge will rule on the plea.

Lawson was arrested by Federal marshals in February at her Gosport home after a federal grand jury indicted Lawson on five federal counts of theft of after an investigation that started in July when the current auditor noticed a suspicious Walmart bill. Lawson had established a post office box in her name so the bills were sent there instead of directly to the county auditor's office for payment.

Preliminary Indiana State Police reports indicate Lawson went on shopping sprees often, sometimes spending more than $2,000 in one transaction. Police says she used five county issued credit cards to buy everything from Fireball cinnamon-flavored whisky, lingerie, toys, diamond jewelry, televisions, vacations and numerous other items.

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.

Here is how the alleged theft breaks down by year:

  • 2010 - $36,720
  • 2011 - $56,376
  • 2012 - $80,847
  • 2013 - $79,240
  • 2014 - $56,415

Each count covers one year; the federal statute of limitations for fraud and theft is five years. Police say Lawson may have embezzled money before 2010, but she cannot be prosecuted for any theft of funds during that time.

Lawson was Owen County auditor from 2005 to 2012. She was also an Owen County council member and deputy auditor in 2013 and 2014. She then served as chief deputy auditor from January 2013 until she was fired last August.
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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