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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Sirens & Gavels

Charge: Worker stole from judges group

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — The former bookkeeper from the Washington State Judges' Association has been charged with stealing nearly $452,000 from the taxpayer-supported group.

Barbara Jo Ericsson, also known as Barbara Jo Fulton, is accused of three counts of bank fraud according to charges unsealed Monday at U.S. District Court in Tacoma.

Prosecutors say she wrote checks to herself or organizations she was affiliated with, forged the name of the judges association's president or treasurer, and presented phony records to hide where the money really went. Prosecutors say it had been going on since at least 2007.

Ericsson is expected to plead guilty Thursday. Her attorney did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

The judges association was established by the state Legislature. Its mission is to improve the court system and communicate with other government officials and the public.

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