Former NW Indiana school official admits theft

(WLFI Photo, file)
(WLFI Photo, file)

HAMMOND, Ind. (AP) — Court records show the former business manager of a northwestern Indiana school district will plead guilty to theft and income tax evasion for embezzling money.

Forty-one-year-old James Huddleston of DeMotte admits in a plea agreement filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court in Hammond that he took $134,000 from the Lake Ridge Schools between January 2012 and April 2013.

The Post-Tribune reports audits revealed Huddleston used the money to pay various personal bills. The audits came shortly after the Gary-based district decided to close an elementary school because of a $1.7 million budget deficit.

A change of plea hearing is set for May 6. As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors will ask that he serve the minimum term recommended under federal sentencing guidelines. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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