Ex-county auditor accused of stealing funds sued by state

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Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller has sued a former county auditor accused by officials of stealing nearly $350,000 in public funds to spend on personal items.

A state audit released last week says Angie Lawson used Owen County credit cards to buy $346,156 worth of food, alcohol, toys, jewelry and other items between 2009 and 2014, The Herald Times of Bloomington reported.

Owen County, located just west of Morgan and Monroe counties, has a population of about 21,500. It's largest town is Spencer, the county seat.

Lawson was also indicted by a federal grand jury Friday on charges of five counts of theft linked to the audit's findings.

The attorney general's office is seeking to recover roughly $486,000, which also includes health insurance premiums the audit says Lawson failed to deduct from her paycheck from 2001 to 2014. A county insurance policy of $50,000 has covered part of that amount, as could a $90,000 surety bond coverage the state wants to redeem.

The state is asking for damages to be tripled, which is allowed by Indiana law in civil cases involving misuse of public funds.

Owen County commissioners had filed a lawsuit against Lawson last month, but attorney general's office spokesman Bryan Corbin said the state's action takes precedence. The county would still get funds back.

Lawson was elected Owen County auditor for two terms, serving from 2005 to 2012. She worked as a deputy county auditor before and after that time, and she was fired last August. She was also on the Owen County Council until the end of last year.

A message was left with an attorney representing her.

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