Buchanan woman jailed for embezzling money from county

A Buchanan woman was ordered to pay $79,000 in restitution after she was caught embezzling money while working for the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department.

On Monday, Judge Scott Schofield sentenced 66-year-old JoAnn Roberts to 270 days in jail on one count of embezzlement of $20,000 to $50,000, according to Mike Sepic, county prosecutor.

The final 90 days of her sentence will be served on tether.

JoAnn Roberts

JoAnn Roberts

Roberts was also placed on probation for five years and must perform 500 hours of community service in addition to paying the county $79,000 in restitution.

Sepic said Roberts paid $15,000 of the restitution Monday.

Roberts took the money from tether collection envelopes while working as the population manager of the Berrien County Jail, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Sepic said Roberts used at least a portion of the money for gambling purposes.

Roberts was also ordered not to enter any casinos during probation, according to Sepic.

The prosecutor’s office originally charged Roberts with embezzlement of between $50,000 and $100,000 — a 15-year felony. That charge was lowered to embezzlement between $20,000 to $50,000 — a 10-year felony — in exchange for Roberts’ guilty plea.

She must also pay $1,858 in fines and costs.

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