Bettysue Higgins of Gardiner will spend three-and-a-half years in prison for embezzling more than $166,000 from her former employer, the Maine Trial Lawyers Association.
Higgins in December pleaded guilty in Kennebec County Superior Court to theft by unauthorized taking or transfer and forgery for using the name of the nonprofit's director on 220 checks she cashed or made payable to herself between 2006 and 2010. She was sentenced Friday to six years with all but three-and-a-half suspended, plus a three-year probation period, according to the Kennebec Journal. She must also repay all $166,700 to the Augusta-based nonprofit. She spent the money on online social media games, according to the paper.
In 1991, Higgins was convicted of stealing from the Gardiner area school district and served only probation. Justice Donald Marden admonished past leaders of the Trial Lawyers Association for not performing a background check on Higgins when she was hired in 2003.