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Fugitive City Clerk Gets Leniency

September 5, 1998

GEORGETOWN, Ky. (AP) _ Her husband was thrilled and her neighbors can’t wait to see her back in Glen Rose, Texas. But at least one person thinks Margie Waugh got off too easily after admitting she embezzled more than $55,000 from the city of Sadieville.

``That’s sort of a slap in the face there, that a person can come into a public office and steal from the public and then more or less get a slap on the wrist,″ former Sadieville Mayor Norris Stacy said Friday after learning that Ms. Waugh, who disappeared for 7 1/2 years after her theft was discovered, will serve six months in jail.

The sentence, imposed by Circuit Judge Robert Overstreet, should have Ms. Waugh back in Glen Rose _ the small town where she gave herself a new name and built a new life _ in time for the holidays.

Dressed in an orange detention center uniform, Ms. Waugh asked Overstreet for ``as much mercy as possible,″ and listened as he sentenced her to 10 years in prison on her August guilty plea to 66 felony theft counts.

Overstreet then placed Ms. Waugh on probation for five years. That means that Ms. Waugh, who returned to Kentucky and began serving time in the Scott County jail in May, should be out by early November.

Under Kentucky law someone put on probation can serve a maximum of six months in jail.

``The fact that restitution has been made in a timely fashion probably tips the scale for this court in favor of probation,″ Overstreet said.

Ms. Waugh fled Sadieville, population 300, in December 1990, just ahead of questioning by Kentucky State Police about money missing from the city bank account. She was found last spring by FBI agents in Texas, living under the name Linda Sue Redfield.

A 1992 indictment charged Ms. Waugh with writing dozens of checks to herself out of Sadieville’s account, starting shortly after she took the $300-a-month clerk’s job. Lawyers have said Ms. Waugh gave the money to friends and relatives in need.

State police were tipped to Ms. Waugh’s crimes by a relative, but she fled after being questioned over the phone.

The FBI has refused to say how it tracked Ms. Waugh to Glen Rose, 100 miles southwest of Dallas. She apparently took the name of her sister, Linda Sue Rogers, and a new Social Security number after disappearing.

Bob Redfield, the man Ms. Waugh married in Texas, was in court for the sentencing. He said he took out a second mortgage on his house to help pay restitution of $55,853.

``What happened before has no bearing on how I feel about her,″ Redfield said of the woman he still calls Linda. ``I know the kind of person she is from the time I’ve lived with her.

``She’s a beautiful person, inside and out. She made a mistake and she paid for it.″

In arguing for probation, defense lawyer R. Burl McCoy told Overstreet: ``Certainly Ms. Waugh recognizes the wrong she did and makes no excuses for that. ... She’s truly contrite.″

The lawyer cited dozens of letters written by Linda Sue Redfield’s friends attesting that ``since living in Texas (Ms. Waugh) appears to have been an exceptional citizen,″ involved in charity work for the local Humane Society and organizing social events for older residents.

Even while in jail, McCoy said, Ms. Waugh has taught Bible classes and counseled other inmates.

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