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Plea deal rejected for ex-Indiana county auditor

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 Lawyers are reworking an agreement under which a former county auditor in southern Indiana was expected to plead guilty to criminal charges of wrongly paying personal expenses with county-issued credit cards.

The Owen County judge overseeing the case against former Monroe County Auditor Amy Gerstman rejected a proposed plea agreement during a court hearing Monday.

Gerstman, 44, faces felony counts of theft and official misconduct related to some $11,000 in charges during 2010 and 2011 for clothing, travel to New York and Florida and her children's school tuition.

The penalties in the proposed plea agreement weren't released, but special prosecutor Barry Brown said the judge wanted Gerstman to face greater punishment.

"She wants the defendant to take more accountability for her actions," Brown told The Herald-Times.

Gerstman is a Democrat who was elected in 2008 and served a four-year term in the county that includes Bloomington.

Defense attorney Ron Chapman said he submitted a new proposed plea agreement to Brown later Monday.

Chapman said Gerstman has paid all of the county credit card bills and was working to repay $3,600 in fees the county has had to pay during the investigation. He said he hopes Gerstman can avoid a felony conviction.

"Having seven felonies pending against her has pretty much kept her out of the job market," he said. "No one will hire her, and she is the sole support for her two children."

Judge Lori Quillen scheduled a new plea hearing for Sept. 19.

The misspending charges include the use of county credit cards to pay $1,800 in school tuition for Gerstman's children and nearly $2,600 for airfare, hotel accommodations and a seminar in New York City that Gerstman never attended.

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  1. As one of the many consumers affected by this breach, I found my bank data had been lifted and used to buy over $200 of various merchandise in New York. I did a pretty good job of tracing the purchases to stores around a college campus just from the info on my bank statement. Hm. Mr. Hill, I would like my $200 back! It doesn't belong to the state, in my opinion. Give it back to the consumers affected. I had to freeze my credit and take out data protection, order a new debit card and wait until it arrived. I deserve something for my trouble!

  2. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  3. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-attorney-illegally-practicing-in-florida-suspended-for-18-months/PARAMS/article/42200 When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  4. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

  5. Different rules for different folks....

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