Tuesday, October 7, 2003

Woman accused of taking $565,000



By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

LEBANON - A Pleasant Plain woman is accused of stealing about $565,000 from her former employer - the latest in a string this year of alleged large-scale embezzlements in Greater Cincinnati.

A Warren County grand jury on Monday returned an aggravated theft indictment against Cathy Lynn Richardson, 37. Free on bond, she is scheduled to appear Wednesday in Common Pleas Court.

Assistant Prosecutor Bruce McGary said Richardson took the money from Imaging Resource Center, Lebanon, between January 2000 and May 2003, while employed as a bookkeeping clerk.

Richardson didn't return a reporter's telephone message seeking comment Monday.

A number of unrelated alleged embezzlements have been discovered at churches, youth sports associations and other community groups, as well as employers.

At least two cases have ended in convictions:

• The co-owner of a failed Blue Ash land title company, Brenda Privett, 50, was sentenced in July to a year for spending more than $500,000 of homeowners' money on items such as luxury cars and office supplies. She also was ordered to pay $749,783 in restitution for her part in an elaborate scheme to raid escrow funds from customers of the now-defunct Phoenix Land Title agency.

• Last month, Diana Kembel, 45, of Warren County's Hamilton Township, was sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to pay Mason United Methodist Church nearly $222,000 she embezzled while serving as secretary-treasurer.

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E-mail jmorse@enquirer.com




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