BY LEN WELLS

A Shawneetown, Illinois woman has been sentenced to more than five years in federal prison after pleading guilty to embezzling more $1.5 million from her employer, Birkett Construction, a firm that operates a farm tiling and construction business serving many Southern Illinois farmers.

Paula R. Hise, 55 had worked for Bickett Construction Company of Ridgway for 13 years as the firm's secretary and bookkeeper. In their complaint, federal prosecutors...

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