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Lough enters plea agreement in Bethany College embezzlement case

Updated: Friday, February 28 2014, 02:48 PM EST

BROOKE COUNTY, W.Va. – Shelly Lough, the initial suspect in a Bethany College embezzlement case, entered into a plea agreement Friday.

Lough pleaded guilty to two felony counts listed against her in a November indictment – embezzlement and falsifying accounts.

It was also learned Friday that the amount of money stolen was more than half that was initially reported, now estimated to be more than $1 million. Those figures come from a detailed investigation by the FBI and a forensic account firm.

Lough was a cashier at the school during the time of the crime, which occurred between July 2011 and May 2013. She told police she took money because she was being blackmailed by two others – Jason and Rachell Wees.

They’ve each been indicted and arraigned in federal court.

Brooke County Prosecuting Attorney Joe Barki said Friday’s plea agreement was fair to the victim, Bethany College, and for Lough, given her cooperation level throughout the investigation.

“It’s my understanding that Ms. Lough received a letter indicating that if the plea agreement went forward and she continues to cooperate as she previously has, the federal government will forego additional charges against her based upon her guilty plea here in state court,” Barki said.

Barki stressed that the prosecution will continue to go forward in this case.

As for Lough, she could be sentenced anywhere from two to 20 years in jail. Details on her punishment will come at a later date. Sentencing is set for April 8.

Lough enters plea agreement in Bethany College embezzlement case

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