Archive for Thursday, March 2, 2006

Prison time looms for Ausherman

March 2, 2006

A remorseful Shelley Ausherman apologized for taking $114,000 from the Willow Springs Township during a two-year time frame that began in 2002.

Ausherman was sentenced to five months in prison and five months house arrest by U.S. District Court Judge Carlos Murguia Monday for her role in the disappearance in the funds from the township coffers. She also intends to make full restitution.

"I've done wrong," Ausherman said Tuesday. "I'm sorry. I'm worried about my kids. I am going to serve five months in prison, but not five months in a halfway house (as reported elsewhere). It will be house arrest. We're paying the whole thing back."

Ausherman, whose husband, Bruce Ausherman, was Willow Springs Township treasurer at the time the money went missing, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in the fall of stealing more than $114,000 during the two-year period.

According to court records, Shelley Ausherman wrote township checks to "T.C.," which was her Tauy Creek farm. When the checks came back, she altered them to show they'd been used for other payments, records show. The checks were written between October 2002 and December 2004.

The case was handled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation because Willow Springs Township had received a $69,943 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. That made the theft a federal offense.

The Aushermans have three teenaged children and the family has had widespread support from the community. Shelley Ausherman, who was a secretary at Baldwin High School before resigning in the fall, was thankful for that.

"We've had a lot of good support," she said. "I'm not worried about myself. I'm worried about my kids."

She said she doesn't know when she'll have to serve the sentence and doesn't know what's next for the long-time Baldwin family.

"I don't know," she said. "Right now, it's in limbo."

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