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DECATUR — A Decatur woman accused of stealing more than $484,000 from her employer pleaded not guilty to a theft charge during her arraignment Friday afternoon. 

Natalie E. Stout, 37, is due back in court for her pretrial on Nov. 20, according to Macon County Circuit Clerk records. Stout's attorney, Christopher Amero, declined to comment on the case when contacted by the Herald & Review on Friday. 

Police arrested Stout on Aug. 20, and she was released from the Macon County Jail after posting her $20,000 bond. A sworn police affidavit said Stout took the money during a period that stretched from 2013 to December 2016.

It was at that point when her employers at the Decatur-based firm JD Properties became suspicious and fired her, the affidavit said. 

An audit of JD Properties' bank records and accounting documents determined that about $484,877 was missing, the affidavit said. Police obtained Stout's bank records through a grand jury subpoena, the affidavit said, and the records showed large amounts of cash being deposited into her account over the years. 

Police said an analysis of Stout's bank records showed her spending the money in a variety of ways, including house and vehicle payments and credit card bills. Between 2013 and 2016, Stout spent more than $79,000 on online predominantly online shopping purchases, the affidavit said. 

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jcook@herald-review.com | (217) 421-7980

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Public Safety Reporter

Public safety reporter for the Herald & Review.

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