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Woman Who Stole From Tourism Group In Court

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File photo of a judge's gavel. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

File photo of a judge’s gavel. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A woman who pleaded guilty to embezzling nearly $500,000 from the South Carolina Hospitality Association is facing her sentencing.

A federal judge will consider Tuesday how long Rachel Duncan should spent in prison.

Duncan pleaded guilty earlier this year to tax evasion and wire fraud. Her attorney says Duncan stole to support a decades-long gambling addiction. Authorities say Duncan opened a secret checking account and began funneling the association’s money into it in 2006.

The U.S. Secret Service’s investigation into the association’s missing money came to light in February when its founder and executive director went missing. Tom Sponseller was found 10 days later in a storage room of his office building.

He had committed suicide, leaving behind a three-page note describing Duncan’s confession to stealing the money.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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