Secretary must repay $50,000 to former boss

Published 5:00 am Thursday, June 19, 2003

A Bogue Chitto woman was sentenced to one year of house arrestand ordered to immediately pay $50,000 restitution after pleadingguilty to embezzlement Thursday morning in Lincoln County CircuitCourt.

Attorney Raymond Boutwell and his family watched as his formersecretary Kathy M. Bonnabel, 49, of 1103 Auburn Drive, pleadedguilty to one count of embezzlement. Two other charges were notprosecuted as part of the plea agreement.

Judge Mike Smith sentenced Bonnabel to six years in prison butplaced her in the Intensive Supervision Program for one year. Theremainder of the sentence will be served on post releasesupervision. She was also ordered to pay a $10,000 fine and $50,000restitution, which was done after the sentencing hearing.

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“This certainly is not the entire amount she has stolen fromme,” Boutwell told the court.

Boutwell said he and his family, who stood at his side thismorning, trusted Bonnabel like “a sister.” The attorney said hewould likely have to file bankruptcy.

“She basically has ruined me,” Boutwell said.

The attorney said he owes people money across southwestMississippi, and he did not know what his reputation in the area isnow. He mentioned one incident where Bonnabel’s actions impacted aclient.

“A lady almost lost her house because of this,” Boutwellsaid.

Boutwell said he and his family hoped to one day be able toforgive Bonnabel. He said he no desire for her to serve jailtime.

“It’s not going to benefit my family for her to go to prison,”Boutwell said.

Smith reassured Boutwell before sentencing Bonnabel.

“You’re reputation is just as good as before all this happened,”the judge said.

Smith followed the district attorney’s office’s recommendationon the sentence. Assistant District Attorney Brandon Frazier said$50,000 was the amount agreed to by the DA’s office andBonnabel.

Court officials indicated the possibility of a civil lawsuit inthe matter and sought permission for records to be released toBoutwell. Smith said Bonnabel’s plea ends her criminalliability.

“I would urge you to go beyond this to try to make things rightwith Mr. Boutwell and his family,” Smith told Bonnabel.

“Yes, sir,” Bonnabel said.