A former state juvenile justice worker in Tillman County has been charged with depositing restitution payments intended for victims into her personal checking account.
Patricia J. Hughes, 61, made an initial appearance in district court Wednesday on four counts of felony embezzlement. She was released on $25,000 bond.
According to court records, Hughes admitted to an investigator with the state Office of Juvenile Affairs that she was diverting money orders left in her custody at the agency's Frederick office to her bank account in Welch due to financial hardship and to support her children.
Hughes, who lists Battle Creek, Mich., as her address, was employed in August 2005 as a juvenile justice specialist. She left the agency in 2011 after agreeing to participate in a voluntary buyout.
A multicounty grand jury approved a subpoena of Hughes' bank account last month and found she had deposited four $1,000 money orders intended to be passed on as restitution to victims.
Investigators were alerted after a victim complained he was not receiving restitution as scheduled, according to a court affidavit.