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Former Georgia coroner, elections director accused of stealing $400k from charity

LUMPKIN COUNTY, Ga. — The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said a former elections director and a former coroner and judge conspired together to steal more than $400,000 from charities.

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On Friday, the GBI arrested James E. Sheppard, 55, on one count of theft by taking and one county of conspiracy to commit theft by taking.

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Sheppard’s wife, Rhonda Sheppard, was arrested in December on similar charges. The couple lived in Dahlonega, where Rhonda Sheppard worked as Lumpkin County elections director and James Sheppard had resigned from his job as the county coroner to take a position as an associate magistrate judge.

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A concerned citizen had reported to the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office that the terms of a local resident’s will were not carried out properly by Rhonda Sheppard, who was the executrix. One of the terms involved a large donation to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

The GBI was called in to investigate and found that the couple had taken more than $400,000 for personal use.

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