Former lawyers’ group embezzler faces sentencing

Posted Jan. 06, 2012, at 11:45 a.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — A Gardiner woman who pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $166,000 from the Maine Trial Lawyers Association is about to learn her punishment.

Bettysue Higgins, who worked as a bookkeeper for the association, is scheduled to be sentenced Friday.

She pleaded guilty last month to theft by unauthorized taking or transfer and forgery just before her trial was scheduled to begin.

The Kennebec Journal reports that prosecutors are recommending a six-year jail sentence, with all but one year suspended.

Prosecutors are also seeking full restitution.

Her lawyer has recommended a 12- to 20-month sentence.

The 54-year-old Higgins was charged with stealing the money between May 2006 and September 2010 by writing more than 200 association checks to herself for cash and forging the signature of the executive.

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