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Hawthorne gets trial date for alleged removal of funds

Hawthorne gets trial date for alleged removal of funds

January 11th, 2019 by Gazette Staff in Texarkana News

A pre-trial date and a trial date have been scheduled for Fonda Hawthorne who is charged with theft of property charge for allegedly removing funds from the Little River Chamber of Commerce.

Hawthorne, a former Arkansas state representative, has been arrested on a theft of property charge for allegedly spending several thousand dollars in unauthorized purchases on the Little River Chamber of Commerce debit card.

Hawthorne was the executive director of the Little River Chamber of Commerce.

Ninth Circuit Court Judge Charles Yeargan scheduled a pre-trial hearing for Feb. 26 in the Little River Circuit Court and a trial date for
March 4.

The records indicated use at liquor and tobacco stores. The debit card was issued to Hawthorne on Nov. 29, 2013, and reissued Oct. 15, 2016.

Hawthorne was later terminated from her position at the chamber and an investigation was
opened.

Danny Young, president of the Little River Chamber of Commerce, and chamber member Susie Brown reported to the Ashdown Police that Hawthorne had been allegedly embezzling money.

Young and Brown stated $16,931.68 is unaccounted for as of Jan. 16, 2018, and they expect the number to increase as they continue going through the statements, according to the probable cause documents.

In notes taken from a meeting between Hawthorne and the Chamber of Commerce board on Jan. 11, Hawthorne apologized for the missing money and she wanted to keep her job so she could pay the money back, according to the arrest affidavit.

Hawthorne stated during the meeting she did not want to go to jail.

Charges were filed by Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Al Smith in the Little River County Circuit Court on March 13, 2018.

Hawthorne has been charged with theft of property exceeding $5,000. The charge is a Class C felony that carries a potential sentence of 3 to 10 years in prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000 or both a fine and prison
time.

Hawthorne is represented by Texarkana, Ark.,  attorney Jeff Harrelson.

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