Local News

Former Phipps Aide Admits Doctoring Financial Records

Posted July 17, 2004

— Linda Saunders, one of the key witnesses for the prosecution in the Meg Scott Phipps trial, took the stand Thursday and told jurors about how she doctored financial records.

Phipps, the former state Agriculture commissioner, is charged with perjury and obstruction of justice in connection with a campaign finance scandal.

Saunders, a former aide to Phipps, said she fraudulently wrote family members' names as contributors to the Phipps campaign. She also explained how she manipulated records to hide cash to retire the loan of Bobby McLamb, another of Phipps' former aides.

Earlier in the day, McLamb told jurors that Saunders was an overly aggressive fund-raiser who took control of paying off an illegal loan. McLamb also claimed that Saunders had a romantic relationship with one of the members of the Vivona family, that owns Amusements of America.

McLamb told jurors that Phipps knew about the illegal actions of her staff.

"I believe she knew all about that, and that is why I testified in the State Board of Elections hearing that she knew about it since day one," McLamb said.

Saunders also talked about Robert Phipps, Phipps' husband. According to Saunders, Robert Phipps told her to make many of the payments. Robert Phipps has not been charged in this case. Saunders is expected to continue her testimony Friday.

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