Former County Official Charged With Diverting Taxpayer Funds - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

4/23/2007-Shelby County

Former County Official Charged With Diverting Taxpayer Funds

A former Shelby County assistant auditor was arrested Monday for diverting $190,000 from the county's indigent health care fund. The suspect, Marilyn Lout, 70, will be co-prosecuted by lawyers with the Office of the Attorney General.

Shelby County Sheriff's deputies served an arrest warrant on Lout of Shelbyville, who was charged with engaging in organized criminal activity for theft and misapplication of fiduciary property, both first-degree felonies. Due to concerns about her health, Lout will be allowed to remain in her home in lieu of physical arrest. Attorney General's prosecutors also seized bank accounts of several individuals who allegedly received the proceeds of the theft.

"Texans will not tolerate government officials who steal from the taxpayers and violate the public's trust," said Attorney General Abbott. "The Office of Attorney General will aggressively prosecute the perpetrators of this outrageous scheme to defraud Shelby County's Indigent Health Care Fund. We are grateful to Shelby County Sheriff Newton Johnson Jr. and Shelby County District Attorney Lynda K. Russell for their tremendous assistance with this case."

As assistant county auditor, Lout was responsible for administering the Shelby County Indigent Health Care Fund. Following an audit by a subsequent Shelby County fund auditor, county investigators traced missing public funds to bank accounts in Hardin County, some 100 m! iles south of Center. Checks appear to have been fraudulently signed, and then issued and diverted to Ms. Lout's relatives.

Because Lout was previously a county employee, Shelby County District Attorney Russell requested the Attorney General's assistance in prosecuting the case. The Attorney General's prosecutors are scheduled to present this matter to a Shelby County grand jury on May 3.

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