Woman accused of stealing from children’s group

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A St. Ignatius woman is accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars from a group that works on behalf of children with special needs.

Shannon Marie O’Brien Murphy, 58, of St. Ignatius, is facing 28 charges of wire fraud. If convicted of the most serious crime, Murphy faces a maximum 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release. Murphy was released pending further proceedings. The case was investigated by the FBI.

Murphy appeared in Missoula before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kathleen L. DeSoto and pleaded not guilty Dec. 4.

Court documents indicate Murphy, treasurer of the Montana Council for Exceptional Children, wrote checks to herself drawn from the organization’s checking account beginning in February 2017.

Charging documents show 23 of the 28 transactions in which Murphy transferred funds to her own account, in amounts between $300 and $8,974.

Other transactions indicate Murphy made purchases for personal expenses directly from the Council for Exceptional Children’s account to places such as hotels and gas stations.

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