Victory Township woman sent to jail for embezzlement

April 14, 2015
Larr 4.14.15

Valerie Larr consults with her attorney, Ryan Glanville.

By Allison Scarbrough. Contributing Editor.

LUDINGTON — A Victory Township woman convicted of embezzling gift cards from the company she worked for was sentenced Tuesday, April 14, in 51st Circuit Court to serve four months in jail, up front, of a nine-month sentence and pay $40,000 in restitution.

Valerie Kay Larr, 56, pleaded guilty in February to embezzling between $20,000 to $50,000. She was originally charged by the Michigan State Police for embezzling between $50,000 to $100,000 from Aramark Corporation, a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. She accepted a plea agreement from Mason County Prosecutor Paul Spaniola, dropping the initial charge and adding the present charge, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

“I was irresponsible when it came to the act of stealing those (gift cards), and I regret what I did,” Larr testified Tuesday.

Larr previously said she had a company credit card and, between September 2012 and May 2013, would use the card at Wal-Mart in Pere Marquette Township to purchase gift cards, which she would use for personal use.

Larr, who was free on bond, paid $5,000 of the restitution before sentencing and had no prior criminal record before her current conviction, Spaniola said.

Larr was making $50,000 per year and had worked for the company for 14 years, according to Spaniola. The prosecutor said he spoke with Aramark officials who were “comfortable with the plea agreement.” The sentencing guidelines for the conviction are 0-9 months.

“Ms. Larr purchased some gift cards with her employer’s money and used them for personal purposes,” said her attorney Ryan Glanville. She was originally given gift cards as a reward for doing a good job, and she was given gift cards to give to other employees as rewards for doing well, he said.

“It was just too easy to take the money, and that’s not an excuse,” Glanville said. “She is ashamed of what she did and wishes she could take it back. It was a crime of circumstance.”

Glanville said his client has always had “a good work history” and is “a good worker.” She currently has a degenerative back condition and is disabled. However, she has paid $5,000 and is going to continue to pay all the restitution, which is a $35,000 balance, he said.

Glanville asked Sniegowski to remove the no firearm provision from the felony sentence, because her husband, Dale, owns guns, which he keeps safe. Spaniola opposed the request and suggested that her husband meet with the Michigan Department of Corrections, so she can be in compliance with the law.

“You’re going to have to find a way to comply with that provision,” said Judge Susan Sniegowski, who did not allow the provision to be removed.

“What is troubling is the repetitive nature,” Sniegowski said of the embezzlement. “I look favorably on the restitution payment that was made, but there is still a significant amount to be paid.” She ordered that Larr pay a minimum of $500 per month when she is released from jail.


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