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Former Hickory Flat town clerk pleads guilty to embezzlement charges

Photo courtesy of the State Auditor's Office.

A former town clerk for Hickory Flat has pleaded guilty to embezzlement after being arrested and indicted in April of 2022.

On Monday, Stephanie Churchill recorded a guilty plea in Benton County Circuit Court for embezzling Hickory Flat Water and Sewage Department funds over the course of over two years.

According to court documents, Churchill did not deposit the funds collected from water and sewage bills from October 2018 through February 2021.

Special Agents presented a $104,256.92 demand letter to Churchill upon her arrest. The Auditor’s office has already recovered $50,000 from a surety bond company and returned it back to Hickory Flat taxpayers. Churchill has also been ordered to pay $55,850.42 in restitution and other court fees.

“We will continue to work with prosecutors, who make decisions about when to charge someone with a crime, to achieve results for the taxpayers,” said State Auditor Shad White. “My office has investigated more than 100 people whom prosecutors have chosen to indict in my time in office, and we will continue to build a track record of being tough on perpetrators.”

At this time, Churchill has been convicted of a felony offense and prohibited from handling public money again.

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