GIBSON CITY — A funeral director in Gibson City accused of stealing more than $60,000 from her previous employer pleaded not guilty Wednesday to one count of felony theft.

Before entering the plea, Michelle M. Rosenbaum waived her right to a probable-cause hearing. Ford County Circuit Judge Robert Travers set a jury trial for the week of Jan. 6, preceded by a pretrial hearing Dec. 18.

Given the quick turnaround, Travers advised Rosenbaum’s attorney, Lance Cagle of Paxton, to not wait until after the hearing to line up expert witnesses.

Cagle told Travers he did not think a January trial would be “realistic,” given the amount of evidence that needs to be exchanged and reviewed.

Travers told Rosenbaum that if she’s convicted of the Class 2 felony, she faces a sentence ranging from probation to three to seven years in prison and as much as a $25,000 fine. He said restitution could be possible, as well.

Rosenbaum, 51, who operates the Rosenbaum Funeral Home in Gibson City, was charged Sept. 5 with one count of theft in excess of $10,000 in connection with a series of alleged thefts that occurred while she was employed as funeral director at Lamb Young Funeral Home in Gibson City.

Special prosecutor Thomas J. Brown of the Illinois Office of the State’s Attorney Appellate Prosecutor said Rosenbaum allegedly stole the funds through “a series of acts performed at different times” between January 2010 and November 2017.

Eric Young, manager of Lamb Young Funeral Home, told the Ford County Record that the amount stolen exceeded $60,000. Young said Rosenbaum allegedly stole more than $40,000 from the funeral home’s business account to pay her personal credit-card bills and allegedly made more than $10,000 in unauthorized purchases using the funeral home’s credit card.

Young said Rosenbaum was Lamb Young’s funeral director for 28 years before leaving in June 2018. That fall, she opened Rosenbaum Funeral Home, which she continues to operate.

wbrumleve@news-gazette.com