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By Echo Menges
Shelbyville, MO – Friday, June 25, 2021 – Amanda Buckman, 44, of Shelbina has pleaded guilty to felony financial exploitation of the elderly in an unexpected court proceeding before Shelby County Associate Circuit Judge Mike Greenwell Friday morning – unbeknownst to the public.
Buckman was scheduled to be in court for a preliminary hearing at 1:30 p.m. Friday afternoon with Judge Greenwell presiding, however, Buckman appeared hours earlier with her attorney John Russell of Monroe City entering the plea.
The Shelby County Herald planned to attend the preliminary hearing Friday afternoon and, despite cross-checking the court’s website, courts.mo.gov, for any changes in Buckman’s next scheduled court hearing, the change was not given to the public. The sentencing hearing was allowed to go on without any members of the press present and – by extension – the public.
A family member representing the victim as the victim’s power of attorney claims she was not given proper notice about the sentencing and the victim was not properly represented in court before Buckman’s sentence was carried out.
“They made sure I was not a part of it all and that shouldn’t be. I’m his power of attorney. They knew we would not be satisfied with five years of probation,” said Cindy Hubert from her Los Angeles, CA, residence.
Hubert had attended previous court hearings on the case online, however, she told The Shelby County Herald she was unable to log in to the hearing Friday and was confused as to how it was allowed to proceed without any representation of the victim in court.
“She gets five years of probation from that, for stealing from someone who is blind. It’s a guy who worked in a grocery store who got a big check for his house burning down. It’s not right and she has everyone on her side, and it’s not right,” said Hubert. “I want her to pay for this. This isn’t justice.”
Buckman was charged with fraudulent use of a credit/debit device, a Class E felony, after turning herself in to the Shelbina Police Department on February 4, 2021, admitting to stealing up to $11,000 from the victim, a nursing home resident. She was accompanied by an attorney when she turned herself in.
Buckman paid an $11,000 bond by money order and was released from custody without spending a single night in jail. She pleaded guilty to a more serious Class C felony count of financial exploitation of the elderly on Friday in case number 21SB-CR00024.
The defendant faced a maximum punishment of up to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Judge Greenwell gave the defendant a suspended imposition of sentence, ordering her to serve five years of probation, complete 60 hours of community service, submit to drug and alcohol screening and warrantless search and seizure by law enforcement, pay a fine of $300, and pay $11,000 in restitution to the victim.
Shelby County Prosecutor Jordan Force has agreed to an email interview with the Shelby County Herald. Those questions and Force’s responses will be published in an upcoming edition of the Shelby County Herald.