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Michigan woman avoids prison with embezzlement plea deal

A few weeks back, we discussed comments by the Ingham County prosecutor that his office has seen a jump in embezzlement charges in the past couple of years. Embezzlement is a serious charge, but it is possible to avoid prison time, as a recent case shows.

In June, an Ingham County Circuit Court judge ordered the former director of an East Lansing preschool to pay more than $60,000 in restitution to the school, serve 18 months of probation, and perform 200 hours of community service. The sentence was the result of the woman pleading guilty to embezzlement of between $1,000 and $20,000 from a nonprofit. The Lansing State Journal reports that the woman took nearly $70,000 from the school, where she served as director for more than five years until resigning in 2014.

The judge ordered that the woman could terminate the balance of her probation, if she makes full restitution and wears a GPS monitoring device for 180 days. Her attorney told the court that his client had a check for $47,000 to pay toward the restitution.

Embezzlement is the theft of assets belonging to another party by a person in a position of trust over the assets. The reasons why people might embezzle depend on the individual’s circumstances. Sometimes, an addiction to drugs or gambling causes a person to do things they normally would not.

In this case, it appears the defendant was able to avoid prison time by agreeing to plead guilty to a lesser charge. Every case is different; in some cases, fighting the charges at trial may be the best option.

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