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July 17, 2012 09:53 AM

Former Tea Fire Treasurer Pleads Guilty

Canton, SD

A former treasurer for the Tea Volunteer Fire Department has pleaded guilty to aggravated grand theft.

46-year-old Denae Baustian admits to stealing more than $170,000 from the department over two years.  In a Lincon County Courtroom Tuesday, Baustian admitted to using an ATM card to take money from department accounts which she then used to play video lottery.  She says her last withdrawal came about seven months ago on December 18.

According to authorities, she would then present doctored financial reports to fire department members so they didn't notice the money was missing.

Baustian faces up to 15 years in prison but under a plea deal, the prosecutor will ask the judge for a maximum sentence of 15 years with three of those years suspended.

We'll talk with the President of the fire department about today's guilty plea tonight on KELOLAND News.

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