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ASHDOWN, Ark.—A woman who embezzled more than $25,000 from an Ashdown, Ark., Parent Teacher Organization was sentenced Tuesday to six years in prison.

Kiley Huddleston, 32, pleaded guilty in April to theft of property for her misconduct with a debit card entrusted to her for organization purchases. Huddleston appeared Tuesday afternoon before Circuit Judge Charles Yeargan for sentencing with her lawyer, Mickey Buchanan of Ashdown.

Huddleston abused the organization's debit card from April 2017 to November 2017, according to a probable cause affidavit. When members of the PTO realized a $25,000-plus discrepancy they contacted police. Surveillance video of Huddleston using the debit card at a local Walmart showed she made purchases and received cash back for her own enrichment.

Prosecuting Attorney Bryan Chesshir said Huddleston never apologized for the thefts, showed no remorse, and described her conduct in testimony to the court as "retail therapy" to deal with feelings surrounding a child's poor health.

"It is sad that she stole $26,000 that was raised by Ashdown for the benefit of their school children," Chesshir said. "Even though her husband testified that money was tight at the time, their money situation was manageable. She primarily testified that her reasoning was stress from having a sick child even though these monies were not used for medical expenses. She claimed it was retail therapy. I call it 240 times of being a thief."

Huddleston allegedly made approximately 240 separate transactions using the PTO debit card.

Yeargan ordered Huddleston to turn herself in to Little River County Sheriff's Office by 6 p.m. Tuesday to begin serving her sentence. Yeargan imposed a $1,500 fine and various costs of court as well.

llarowe@texarkanagazette.com

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