Authorities: Woman Gambled Grandson’s College Fund

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  • A 73-year-old woman has been found in Louisiana after being charged with stealing and gambling away $97,000 from a trust fund for her grandson's college education, authorities said, but she may never return to Indiana for prosecution.

    Edna Sue Pate was wanted in Indiana, where the charges were filed, but authorities there said they would not have her brought there to face the charges. Officials in that state had been ordered to extradite her only if she was found in a surrounding state, which would not include Louisiana.

    Messages seeking comment with Lake County, Ind., Magistrate Kathleen Sullivan were not returned Thursday and Friday.

    Webster Parish Sheriff Gary Sexton said deputies found Pate at a home in the northern Louisiana town of Minden on Wednesday. Sexton said his agency would arrest Pate if authorities in Indiana decided they wanted to have her taken there for prosecution — assuming she stayed at the same home in Minden.

    "I have no reason to monitor her at this point," Sexton said. "If they wanted her, they just had to tell me (Wednesday) they wanted her. As far as I'm concerned she's a free lady. She can leave. She can go anywhere."

    A probable cause affidavit filed last month by Griffith, Ind., police Detective James Sibley says Pate withdrew more than $97,000 from 2004 to 2007 from a trust fund account opened in 2003 under the name of her grandson, Christian Patrick Kenneth Smith.

    The documents say Pate was a trustee on the account but did not have consent to use its funds for any purpose other than Smith's post-secondary education. The documents also say Smith was the sole beneficiary.

    The court records claim Pate was known to frequent Indiana casinos and had set up a separate account in 2009 from which she made 49 withdrawals totaling more than $6,000 through April 2010, when the account was closed with a "negative balance."

    The court records say 30 withdrawals from that account were made from ATMs at two casinos in Indiana. Records from one of the casinos, Majestic Star II in Gary, show Pate lost more than $93,000 during that time period.

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