Former Paxton park employee gets probation for theft

Former Paxton park employee gets probation for theft

PAXTON — A former employee of the Paxton Park District was sentenced to 18 months of probation and ordered to pay $28,423 in restitution Wednesday for stealing tens of thousands of dollars from the district over a four-year period.

Beth E. Tabor, 44, of Paxton received the sentence in Ford County Circuit Court in return for pleading guilty to misdemeanor theft — a charge reduced from a felony.

Tabor's attorney, Lance Cagle of Paxton, and Ford County State's Attorney Matt Fitton reached the plea agreement earlier Wednesday, after consulting park district officials and the Paxton Police Department, Fitton said.

Tabor had been scheduled to appear for a bench trial Tuesday, but Judge Jennifer Hartmann-Bauknecht agreed to postpone the trial after being informed the plea agreement was nearly finalized.

Tabor, who had no prior criminal history, was ordered to pay $28,424 in restitution to the park district — an amount that Fitton said reflects the total value of the amount stolen — before her probation term expires on Oct. 24, 2014.

Fitton said $13,424 had already been paid by Tabor as of Wednesday. Fitton also noted that Tabor's $10,000 bond could be applied toward restitution, meaning she would owe $5,000 more.

Tabor was also ordered to complete a cognitive thinking class as part of her sentence.

Tabor, a former administrative assistant for the park district, was charged with theft of between $10,000 and $100,000 in February 2012. Police said in court documents that Tabor used park district credit cards to buy an estimated $50,000 in personal merchandise, but Fitton said that number later was narrowed down to $28,424.

Tabor, who declined comment, had faced a potential sentence ranging from up to four years of probation to a maximum of three to seven years in prison.

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