Friday, March 21st, 2008
Celina woman sentenced for stealing more than $16,000 from Eagles
By Margie Wuebker
A Celina woman was sentenced Wednesday to community control sanctions after admitting she took more than $16,000 from the Coldwater Fraternal Order of Eagles.
Misty A. Lacy, 31, 805 S. Elm St., listened as Mercer County Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey Ingraham explained the terms including up to five years supervision and 90 days in jail to be served upon notice from her probation officer. The latter sanction is often imposed in the event of a violation.
Ingraham explained he set the period of supervision longer because Lacy will need time to pay restitution, court costs and assigned legal fees.
Court records indicate the single mother of two took $16,283.14 from the Eagles between April 23 and Aug. 20. As an employee of the organization headquartered at 101 W. Walnut St., she had access to money taken in and made bank deposits on a regular basis.
Originally indicted on seven counts of theft, the state dismissed three during the course of plea negotiations. She pleaded guilty Feb. 20 to the remaining counts.
"This case is one that others could learn from," defense attorney Louis J. Schiavone said. "It started by borrowing money she intended to pay back. It remains a crime despite her best intentions."
Ingraham agreed with Schiavone's comments, telling Lacy, "Once we start down the slippery slopes, even the smallest decision can lead to problems."
He encouraged Lacy, who did not take advantage of the opportunity to address the court, to abide by the sanctions. Violation could lead to a 10-month prison sentence on each count with the time to be served concurrently.
A representative of the Eagles contacted Coldwater Police on May 8 regarding the possibility of missing money. More improprieties were noted over the ensuing months with the organization providing additional information Sept. 28. The subsequent investigation culminated with presentation of the case to a Mercer County grand jury Nov. 15.