Judge says former ECHO housing company manager violated probation

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EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Federal prosecutors say former ECHO Housing Corporation executive director Stephanie TenBarge misled the court about her assets before her theft conviction, then hid further financial dealings from her probation officer .

In a legal filing Monday in the U.S. District, prosecutors explain why they believe TenBarge’s probation should be revoked. Judge Richard Young – who ruled last month that she violated probation – will sentence TenBarge in a hearing at 1 p.m. on Tuesday.

Accused of embezzling $147,000 from the nonprofit, TenBarge pleaded guilty to three counts of theft. US District Court Judge Richard Young sentenced her to two years probation in March 2021.

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In December, federal prosecutors charged her with violating the terms of that probation, according to court records. TenBarge denied it, according to court records. However, after a hearing on February 28, Young admitted that she violated those terms.

Stephanie TenBarge, former Director, ECHO Housing Corp.

Prosecutors say that after her sentencing, TenBarge sold a piece of real estate she owned under the name “Stephanie A. Clark,” which she had not included in the assets she declared to the court before the conviction. TenBarge apparently intended to use the sale to help pay for its attorneys, according to the court document.

Prosecutors said TenBarge used ECHO funds to pay property taxes on the plot.

“Such disclosure is especially important in a fraud case in which a nonprofit victim lost a substantial amount of money,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle Sawa wrote.

Paying restitution was central to the reasoning for sentencing TenBarge to probation instead of incarcerating him, prosecutors argued.

However, according to Monday’s court filing, prosecutors only learned after his sentencing that TenBarge had paid his restitution in full with a loan from a relative.

TenBarge also wouldn’t tell the court that she refinanced her home after her conviction. Instead, prosecutors say, she used some of the proceeds from the refinance to pay off three credit cards and then made more than $5,000 in new credit charges on those. All of this was done without telling his probation officer.

The remaining funds from the refinance were returned to the relative who loaned him the money for restitution, prosecutors said.

An Indiana State Board of Accounts report released after his indictment said TenBarge used ECHO funds to pay for personal goods and services ranging from lawn maintenance and work on his home. personal property taxes from January 1, 2015 to February 28, 2018.

TenBarge quit her job at the association in March 2018 after ECHO filed a complaint against her. The complaint alleged that TenBarge made unauthorized payments to itself, including issuing unauthorized paychecks.

Mark Wilson covers education and the environment at Courier & Press. Contact him at [email protected]

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