Department of Public Protection
Tennessee Woman Draws 15-Year Sentence In Bingo Embezzling Case

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, May 02, 2007  
Contact Information:  Jim Carroll, 502-564-7760  

     A Clarksville, Tenn. woman who pleaded guilty to embezzling nearly $280,000 from the Guthrie Senior Citizen Center’s bingo operation has been sentenced to 15 years in prison after Todd Circuit Judge Tyler Gill rejected a plea agreement that would have kept her out of jail.


            Paula Marie Terrones pleaded guilty March 7 to five counts in a 264-count indictment.  The plea agreement called for a sentence of five years on each of five counts, to be served concurrently and probated for five years, or until the stolen money was repaid.  However, during the final sentencing, Judge Gill ordered Terrones to 15 years of incarceration. 


            Terrones was a bookkeeper for the Guthrie Senior Citizen Center.  An investigation by the Office of Charitable Gaming (OCG) found that Terrones altered checks to other payees, substituting her name after the checks were approved by the organization’s officers.  An OCG audit showed she altered 131 checks between July 2003 and September 2005 when she quit.  A Todd County Grand Jury indicted her in July 2006 on 131 counts of second degree forgery and 131 counts of theft by unlawful taking.


            OCG officials plan to work with the bingo operation’s officers to improve fiscal management.


            OCG is an agency of the Department of Public Protection in the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet.  OCG was created to provide a regulatory framework allowing charitable gaming to thrive as a viable fundraising mechanism.  The office helps to ensure the productivity of charitable gaming through appropriate regulation, oversight and education.