Ore. woman fails to show up for federal plea

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- The former director of Oregon Halfway House in Portland has failed to appear in federal court to enter a plea to an embezzlement charge.

The Oregonian reports that 39-year-old Laura Marie Edwards had been set to plead guilty Monday to embezzling more than $200,000 from the Portland program.

Her lawyer, Pat Birmingham, told U.S. District Judge Ancer Haggerty he had lost contact with Edwards while Assistant U.S. Attorney Hannah Horsley told the judge that Edwards had moved to Rhode Island.

Haggerty said if Edwards didn't turn up in a few days, Horsley should take her case to a grand jury and the judge would sign an arrest warrant if Edwards is indicted.

Court records filed by the FBI allege that Edwards used halfway houses debit cards to make phony purchases.

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Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com