Department of Public Protection
Tennessee Woman Pleads Guilty To Embezzling from Guthrie Senior Citizen Center

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, March 07, 2007  
Contact Information:  Jim Carroll, (502) 564-7760, ext. 239  

A Clarksville, Tenn., woman today pleaded guilty in Todd Circuit Court to five felony counts arising from the theft of nearly $280,000 from the Guthrie Senior Citizens Center’s bingo operation.


 Under a plea agreement, Paula Marie Terrones pleaded guilty to five counts of a 264-count indictment. She was sentenced to five years on each count, to be served concurrently. The sentence was probated for five years or until the entire amount has been repaid.


Allen Houchin, investigator with the state Office of Charitable Gaming (OCG), said Terrones was a bookkeeper for the senior group. Beginning in July 2003, she began altering checks written to other payees, substituting her name after the checks were approved by the organization’s officers. She altered 131 checks through September 2005, when she quit.


            The center ordered an audit that uncovered financial irregularities, Houchin said. The OCG was notified and conducted its own investigation confirming the thefts.


            The Todd County Grand Jury indicted Terrones in August 2006 on 132 counts of second-degree forgery and 132 counts of theft by unlawful taking. The charges are felonies. Remaining charges were dismissed without prejudice, meaning they can be reinstated if full repayment is not made.


       The Office of Charitable Gaming is part of the Department of Public Protection in the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet.


       If an individual has not reported this amount as income for individual income tax purposes, the Department of Revenue may issue an assessment, plus 50 percent civil fraud penalty.