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Shoats avoids jail via plea deal

A former Pike County official pleaded guilty Friday to stealing money from the department that he once led. Shawn Shoats, the former director of the Pike County Recreation Authority, pleaded guilty to one count of theft by conversion. His admission of guilt uttered in Pike County Superior Court was part of a negotiated plea hammered out between prosecutors and defense attorney Tamara Jacobs. Judge Tommy Hankinson sentenced Shoats to 10 years on probation, fined him $1,000 and ordered him to perform 80 hours of community service. Shoats also must make restitution of the stolen money. Shoats pleaded guilty to stealing more than $5,000 from the recreation authority between January 2006 and February 2007. Shoats was director of Pike’s recreation authority when he was fired in August 2007 for fiscal mismanagement.

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