by Jon Schuessler
Bonnie Sue Lawson was elected County Administrator for Buchanan County in 1996. She was in her mid-fifties at the time, likely at the top of her political career. Lawson would be re-elected until her resignation in disgrace in 2006.
As County Administrator, Lawson was responsible for handling Social Security funds for residents who were physically or mentally unable to conduct their own business dealings. For the first seven years, Lawson appeared to do her job without incident. Starting in 2003, however, Lawson decided to cook the books.
She starting paying herself “fees” that totaled thousands every year. She altered county records, and sent false reports to the Social Security Administration.
Over 120 handicapped and dependent residents were affected.The Aftermath:
Lawson’s scheme was uncovered in 2006, and she resigned in August of that year. In 2008, she pled guilty to embezzlement.
Investigators could only guess at the true amount stolen. They estimate that Lawson stole almost $120,000 over three years.
Lawson was sentenced to three years and one month in a federal prison without parole, and ordered to repay $119,063.(Click here for the FBI report on the Lawson conviction)
Jon Schuessler is a Volunteer leader in Jefferson County, and the chairman for Missouri Volunteers for Government Reform, a Political Action Committee (PAC) of the Volunteer Movement. Click here to read his bio or contact him.