The Pike County Prosecutor said on Wednesday that a woman’s restitution payment could be the largest in the county’s history.
Jennifer Leeth, a bookkeeper for a non-profit who prosecutors said stole by writing checks to herself and her family, turned over a six-figure restitution check.
Canal Industries, a private non-profit, offers vocational training and jobs to adults with special needs, 10TV’s Glenn McEntyre reported.
Tracy Noble, executive director of Canal Industries, said that the work being done at the organization is much more than a paycheck to him.
“They have a job, and they feel like part of society,” Noble said.
Officials said that the program was compromised in the fall when an audit turned up a large amount of money missing.
“She had dipped into one of their accounts for approximately $118,000,” Pike County Prosecutor Rob Junk said. “She had written checks to herself and to her husband.”
Noble said that Leeth’s alleged theft put the organization back two or three months of payroll and being able to purchase items for its client.
Junk said that new sentencing laws limited punishment if Leeth was convicted.
“The law says she would have been put under community control, which means no prison,” Junk said. “And, I’m pretty sure we could have gotten an order of restitution, but it would have been just that, an order. Orders a lot of times aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.”
Junk said he was skeptical when Leeth’s attorney came to him with an offer if he would dismiss charges. Leeth’s attorney said that she would pay back all of the stolen money in a lump sum.
“You just assume they’re going to lie to you about it, until they can prove it,” Junk said.
Junk said that Leeth turned over a check for $100,000 on Friday.
“It was the largest check I had ever seen,” Junk said.
Noble said that the program was thankful, McEntyre reported.
“We’re just as happy as can be,” Noble said.
Leeth will be required to work 250 hours of community service. The charges against her are dismissed unless she violates the terms of the program.
Leeth did not immediately return 10TV News’ calls.
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October 24, 2011: Over $100,000 Allegedly Missing From Adults Who Have Special Needs