A 40-year-old woman has been sentenced to five years in state prison after she was convicted of embezzling fire department funds. According to the woman’s attorney, she is seeking a shorter prison sentence of six months by applying for New Jersey’s Intensive Supervision Program. Restitution she has been ordered to pay will satisfy a civil lawsuit that she faces.
At Superior Court in Morristown, the accused admitted that she stole money while working as treasurer for the Mine Hill Fire Department. As she pleaded guilty to embezzlement charges, the woman cried and explained that the money was used to help her family and save her house. A plea deal that was reached required the accused to pay restitution totaling $228,631 and forfeit two of her vehicles.
The incidents leading up to the embezzlement charges span a six-year period and include the theft of over one hundred checks. The majority of the money was used to pay the woman’s home mortgage loan while the remainder was used to cover her and her husband’s car loans. In total, the woman was accused of embezzling $330,000 from the fire department for her personal use. While still employed with the fire department, she reportedly repaid almost one third of the money.
Many people accused of embezzlement hope to reach a plea deal in order to receive a shorter prison sentence. While negotiating with the prosecution, a lawyer may help defendants by highlighting positive aspects of their character. To do this, a lawyer may demonstrate that the money was taken in desperation and that a genuine effort was being made to pay it back.