A former Roff official accused of embezzling money has two weeks to decide whether to accept a plea recommendation.
Former town secretary Connie Hilburn received the recommendation from the Pontotoc County District Attorney’s Office during a brief hearing Wednesday afternoon in Pontotoc County District Court, said assistant district attorney Matthew Welde. He said he could not disclose the details of the recommendation until it is finalized.
Hilburn must decide whether to accept the recommendation before her next court date, set for 8:30 a.m. July 26. She is free on a personal recognizance bond until then.
Hilburn, 61, is accused of stealing approximately $1,000 from the town between July 8 and Aug. 3, 2011, while she was working as the town secretary. Embezzlement carries a possible penalty of up to five years in prison, a fine of $5,000 and restitution.
The city was missing water payment deposits from July 8, July 22, Aug. 1 and Aug. 3, according to an April 23 affidavit filed by sheriff’s deputy James C. Kennedy. The total loss was $4,013.21, but most of the deposits were checks and only about $1,000 was paid in cash.
Hilburn first noticed the missing money in July 2011 and reported it to Roff City Councilman Brent Crawford, but no action was taken, according to the affidavit. The affidavit also says Hilburn noticed three additional missing deposits in August 2011.
She reported the missing money in a letter to the council, in which she took responsibility for the money and offered to take out a personal loan to cover the city’s loss, according to the affidavit.
Hilburn voluntarily went to the sheriff’s office for a Nov, 2 interview, in which she told investigators that she was the only person who handled money for the city’s public works department, according to the affidavit. She also told authorities she was the only person to deposit departmental funds in the Oklahoma Heritage Bank’s night depository.
The bank’s branch manager, Jimmie Bostic Jr., told investigators that bank records did not show that Hilburn made any deposits on the dates in question, according to the affidavit. He confirmed that the bank processed other customers’ deposits on those dates, but not from the city of Roff.
Hilburn resigned her position on June 5, and her resignation was accepted by the city council.
She does not have an attorney, and her home phone number has been disconnected.