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SELLERSBURG, IND. (WDRB) -- A former Sellersburg Housing Authority employee is accused of stealing about $60,000 from taxpayers. Kathy Downes walked into the Clark County courthouse this afternoon accused of writing and cashing about 50 forged checks.
44-year-old Kathy Downes was working as the Executive Director of the Housing Authority in Sellersburg, Indiana when she allegedly cashed in on federal HUD money.
"They had a number of checks that had forged board member signatures on them, and they had checks made out to a landlord that was not a landlord," said detective Mark Levesque.
Detective Levesque found 47 to 50 forged checks totaling nearly $60,000 in stolen money. Each check was made out to different people, each totaling anywhere from $300 to $1,900.
"We don't know if that is all the checks that are out there or not, we are still looking into it," says Levesque.
According to the Sellersburg Police Department, Downes worked alone in the office. The money is from HUD and given to landlords who rent to individuals on section 8.
Today she stood in front of a judge at the Clark County Courthouse to plead not guilty.
"She knew this day was going to come, she didn't go anywhere but here to accept responsibility for what she has done." said defense attorney Larry Wilder.
She was charged with 60 counts of forgery, one count of theft, and one count of official misconduct.
"At this point the process will be to be recoup those funds and return the money to the tax payers where it belongs," said Clark County prosecutor Jeremy Mull.
Downes' lawyer says she is regretful of her actions and they will work together to pay back the tax payers. He blames a recent divorce, blood transfusion, the loss of her son, and a growing pile of bills.
"There is a difference between taking money and going gambling.... or going to your drug dealer and getting drugs... and taking money to pay bills and stay afloat," said Wilder.
While the people in Sellersburg are left with feelings of betrayal.
"You trust them, you employ them, you trust them with a significant amount of money, that trust is taken and they are not happy about it," said Levesque.
Downes was unable to post bond today and was taken into custody.
She could potentially face eight years in prison for each charge.