Former Owen County auditor alleged to have stolen $300,000 in county funds

Friday, February 13, 2015

TERRE HAUTE -- A former Owen County auditor has been indicted in federal court on five counts of theft totaling nearly $310,000.

Federal charges have been lodged against Angela Lawson, 56, Gosport, who was arrested at her home Friday morning after being indicted on five counts of theft concerning programs receiving federal funding, acting United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced.

"The public deserves elected officials whom they can trust to be fiscally responsible and to do the right thing," Minkler said. "When that trust is betrayed, it shakes the foundation of our democracy and weakens the effectiveness of our government."

Lawson served as the elected auditor of Owen County from 2005 through 2012 and as chief deputy auditor from January 2013 through Aug. 14, 2014. She also served as an Owen County Council member from January 2013 through December 2014.

In the scope of her employment, Lawson possessed the authority to make public expenditures on behalf of Owen County through a credit card account at Walmart.

During her time in office, Lawson had access to separate credit cards which were issued to various authorized buyers. Over the period March 1, 2010, through Dec. 31, 2014, Lawson allegedly stole nearly $310,000 and used it to pay personal expenses that included food, alcohol, gift cards, toys, jewelry and vacations.

Alleged loss totals include:

* 2010--$36,720.18.

* 2011--$56,376.04.

* 2012--$80,847.03.

* 2013--$79,240.51.

* 2014--$56,415.04.

This investigation was a collaborative effort between the United States Postal Inspection Service, Indiana State Police, Indiana State Board of Accounts and Robert Cline, the special prosecutor assigned to investigate the case.

According to Senior Litigation Counsel Bradley Blackington, who is prosecuting this case for the government, Lawson faces up to 10 years on each count if convicted.

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  • Why does the system not have an annual outside audit on all Money accounts. Things would not get this far out of hand if they did.

    -- Posted by sierrabloom on Sat, Feb 14, 2015, at 8:15 AM
  • It just amazes me that people don't realize they will be caught. Then they will go to prison and their whole fanily (especially their children) will suffer. Todays spending sprees will be tomorrow's headlines! Think think think about it first. Going without all those good things you bought and the trips you took won't be worth what is ahead of you!

    -- Posted by interested party on Sun, Feb 15, 2015, at 8:22 AM
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