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DECATUR — The fate of a Decatur woman convicted of stealing more than $60,000 from her credit union clients now rests in the hands of a judge.

Former ADM Credit Union teller Karen S. Buxton, 49, pleaded guilty Wednesday in Macon County Circuit Court to two counts of stealing the money from two customer accounts.

Buxton, represented by defense attorney Chris Amero, appeared before Judge R.C. Bollinger and confirmed she understood she was making an “open plea,” which means a judge will decide the severity of her sentence.

The case was set for a status hearing Monday before Judge Thomas Griffith. The amount involved in the theft charges raises them to Class 2 felonies which, at the top end of the penalty range, could see Buxton sent to prison for seven years and fined up to $25,000.

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“So, whatever the sentence will be, will be up to Judge Griffith who will conduct the sentencing hearing,” Bollinger warned Buxton, who answered his questions in a hushed voice and was told she had to speak up.

“That means that whatever may happen at that sentencing hearing, it’s entirely up to the judge on the sentencing range: it could be a maximum of seven years in the Department of Corrections, you understand that?” Bollinger asked.

Buxton, who was also warned about the maximum fine available and was told she could be ordered to pay full restitution, said she understood what she was doing and wanted to give up her right to a jury trial. She remains free on a $10,000 bond.

Outlining the case against Buxton, Assistant Macon County State’s Attorney Christina Mullison said the thefts were discovered in October 2017 when one of the credit union customer victims complained to the Macon County Sheriff’s Office there was money missing from his account.

A sworn affidavit from Sgt. Roger Pope, who investigated the case, said more than $31,000 was stolen from this account, and more than $31,000 had been taken from another customer account.

Pope said Buxton had tried to cover up the thefts, which dated back to November 2016, but she admitted everything under police questioning.

“Karen said she has none of the money left and spent it on ‘eating out’ and gave some to her daughter who was struggling with bills after having a child,” Pope said in the affidavit. “Karen stated she also gave money to her brother who had paid for their mother’s funeral.”

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Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid


Macon County Courts Reporter

Macon County courts reporter for the Herald & Review.

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