- Associated Press - Friday, June 3, 2016

ALEXANDRIA, La. (AP) - The Rapides Parish District Attorney’s Office has filed a lawsuit against a woman accused of stealing more than $1.3 million from the office.

The Town Talk (https://townta.lk/22D6dB9 ) reports that the office of District Attorney Phillip Terrell filed the lawsuit on May 27.

The office accuses 66-year-old Margaruette M. Hilton Beard of stealing the money over decades. The office also says that the theft of funds was discovered as Terrell was taking office in 2015.

An investigation by a finance director in June 2015 found discrepancies in the funds that were reimbursements to the DA’s office. Missing funds were later discovered to have been diverted to cover stolen funds.

Beard resigned in October 2015 after Terrell placed her on administrative leave. She had been working at the DA’s office since 1988.

Beard was arrested in January by the Louisiana State Police on charges including felony theft and malfeasance in office.

George Higgins III, the attorney representing Beard, said that it is inappropriate to comment on the matter because the state has not tendered any proof of the alleged theft.

“However, we can state unequivocally - without reservation - Ms. Beard is innocent until proven otherwise,” Higgins said. “This presumption of innocence is a right all Americans enjoy.”


Information from: Alexandria Daily Town Talk, https://www.thetowntalk.com

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