Former magistrate convicted
of stealing public money
[Tift County, GA]

PoliceOne Staff Report
(TIFT COUNTY, Ga.) -- A former county magistrate judge has pleaded guilty to theft by conversion and violating the oath of office of an elected official and was immediately ordered to pay back the public money she had embezzled.

Luan Deason, 41, was arrested in September 1998 after reports of misappropriated funds and missing money, and had been free on $20,000 bail, according to the Tifton Gazette.

On Dec. 18 Deason pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 15 years probation, with special condition, and ordered to pay back $60,000 in money stolen between 1993 and her 1998 forced resignation.

Although Deason she told Superior Court Judge Harry Altman from Thomas County, who presided over the hearing, that drugs were not involved, her attorney Tommy Pittman stated otherwise.

"Ms. Deason does admit to the court that during the same period of time, and before, she had become addicted to Lorcet," Pittman told the Gazette. He said that Deason started taking the drug by doctor's prescription after a surgery.

After the court adjourned, Deason gave a statement to reporters. "To the Citizens of Tift County who entrusted the office of Chief Magistrate to me I can only say I'm sorry and ask for your forgiveness and prayers. I love Tift County; it is my home and I hope it shall always be," she said.

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