Monday, July 21, 2003

Treasurer to plead guilty in theft case

By Sharon Turco
The Cincinnati Enquirer

The treasurer of St. Antoninus Church's altar and school society is expected to plead guilty to embezzling $60,000 from the society during a Hamilton County court hearing today, her lawyer said.

Deborah Hughes, 39, of Green Township, was charged in June with stealing $60,000 from the fund, according to court records and her attorney, Larry Keller.

Hughes has returned half of the money to the Green Township Church and plans to pay back the rest, Keller said.

"Just like in many of these cases, Debbie always had the intention of paying the money back," Keller said.

Hughes has three children ages 6, 8 and 11 who attend the school, and she used the money to live on, Keller said.

The theft was discovered in April, and Green Township Police started an investigation.

The Rosary Altar and School Society is a volunteer parent organization that sponsors fund-raising events such as bake sales, magazine drives and book fairs.

The theft did not stop the group's work this year because she made some restitution and the church has an insurance policy, which will make up the rest of the loss within a year, said Dan Andriacco, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

Hughes is worshipping elsewhere and "feels very badly," Keller said.



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