Former OFU Treasurer gets jail time

SALEM, Ohio — The former treasurer of the Ohio Farmer’s Union and the wife of Putnam County Sheriff Jim Beutler will be spending three years in jail.

Pleading guilty

Kathy Beutler, of Columbus Grove, Ohio, pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated theft, a third degree felony.

The theft occurred over a four and half year period between April 2005 and May 2009.

Beutler pleaded guilty to embezzling between $100,000 and $500,000.

Credit cards

According to Assistant State Attorney General Ken Egber, who was appointed to act as special prosecutor in the case said Beutler used the funds to pay on a number of credit card accounts.

She was using the money to pay overdue credit card bills, late payments and to pay down the cards with the highest interest rates but it “snowballed” on her.

The credit cards were used to pay for her daughters’ weddings and vacations.

A special prosecutor was appointed in the case because Beutler is the wife of the county sheriff.

Egber added bank records show large payments were made to the credit card companies.

Investigation

The investigation reportedly began when the OFU started noticing funds missing and dwindling from the payroll account.

Common Pleas Judge Keith P. Muhelfeld from Henry County sentenced Beutler to three years in jail which she will be spending it in the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville.

Beutler admitted to the theft from the Ohio Farmers Union, where she is accused of taking more than $260,000. She will be required to pay $80,000 in restitution and insurance will reportedly pay the rest.

Ohio Farmers Union

Roger Wise, executive director of the group, said they have no comment about the case because of possible further litigation. He did say they are happy to be recovering from the crime and changes are being made in the organization.

About the Author

Kristy Foster Seachrist lives in Columbiana County raising sheep and horses. She earned her degree from Youngstown State University and has worked in both print and broadcast journalism. You can follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/fosterk96. More Stories by Kristy Foster Seachrist

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