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Ligonier woman charged in theft, fraud scheme

More than $100,000 stolen from business, festival, prosecutor alleges

State and Ligonier police have arrested a Ligonier woman charged with stealing more than $100,000 from a business and a festival, the Noble County prosecutor said tonight.

Tamara L. Deel, 42, was arrested without incident, and is to have an initial court hearing Wednesday, Prosecutor Steven Clouse said in a statement.

Deel is charged with two counts of theft and one count of fraud on a financial institution, the statement said.

It said one theft charge alleges Deel stole more than $100,000 in money owned by a Ligonier business, which was not identified, between June 2008 and June 30 of this year, when she worked at the business.

It said the other theft charge alleges she stole money owned by the Ligonier Marshmallow Festival between November 2009 and April of this year, when she served on the festival's committee.

The fraud charge alleges that from June 2008 to June 30 of this year, Deel executed a scheme to obtain money held in banks, the statement said.

On Monday, at Clouse's request, Noble Superior Judge Robert E. Kirsch froze the festival's bank account.

"It is regrettable that the charges filed against Deel could have a devastating effect on Ligonier's Labor Day festivities," Clouse said in a statement. "I am hopeful that the leaders of the city will do what is necessary to salvage a festival that has become very important to the community."