Huffman charged with embezzlement

Former Marion County economic development director Teresa Lynn Huffman, 68, was arrested late in the morning on Monday, Oct. 8., and charged with allegedly embezzling about $47,000.

The complaint was filed Oct. 4 in the Marion County District Court by Courtney D. Boehm, county attorney, alleging that on or about May 1, 2018, Huffman misused public funds not authorized by law.

The misuse of money, according to the complaint, was at least $25,000, but less than $100,000, and is in violation of KSA 21-6005, a severity level 7 nonperson felony.

Huffman was released on a $10,000 surety bond later on Monday.

The arraignment date was not scheduled as of press time.

Level 7 Nonperson Felony

According to the Kansas Sentencing Guidelines, examples of nonperson felonies include forgery and theft, and rank next in seriousness levels.

If a defendant has no criminal history, committing a severity level 7 nonperson felony would likely receive a suspended prison sentence of 11-13 months.

Based on the guidelines, a defendant would likely be placed on probation for 24 months. However, if the defendant didn’t complete the probation, they could end up serving the underlying prison sentence of 11-13 months.

Additional, the Court could impose restitution along with the probation.

“Kansas crimes do not typically carry a mandatory maximum or minimum sentence, as some other states do,” according to the guideline information. “Instead, Kansas uses a sentencing grid, wherein the sentence someone faces is based primarily upon where their case falls on the grid.”

Historical background

Huffman was hired in November 2006 as an economic development secretary with her background in banking, according to a report in the Free Press, and four years later, she was the first economic development director.

As a secretary, Huffman served on the Marion County Economic Development Council, which at that time was made up of 26 voting members based on the size of the city.

After concerns with bylaws and other factors between 2009-2010, all of Marion’s five representatives resigned.

By late May 2010, Huffman resigned as chairperson only to be asked to reconsider a few days later by the commission, according to a Free Press article May 28.

In addition to helping new businesses, Huffman was also responsible for funding opportunities to include a $100,000 grant from the Kansas Health Foundation for Leadership Marion County.

The $100,000 was placed in an endowment that matched half of the new funds bringing the total to $150,000.

By May 2017, Huffman stepped down as the economic development director, having served from November 2006 through 2017 mostly in that capacity.

County officials confirmed the dollar amount of $46,871 that was allegedly misused by Huffman while in her official position with Marion County.

The matter is being investigated by the Marion County Sheriff’s office and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

Witnesses named in the complaint include former Hillsboro Mayor Delores Dalke, Commissioner Randy Dallke, former commissioner Dan Holub, county clerk Tina Spencer, Todd Heitschmidt, president Central National Bank, and Colleen Anderson, Angela Butterworth, Charles William Hill, Greg Skelton, Angie Tatro, Marvin Franklin and Rebecca Wingfield, register of deeds.