The Franklin News-Post|
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Monday, August 20, 2012
By KEN BRADLEY - Staff Writer
A five-year prison sentence that was imposed on a Rocky Mount woman in February for embezzlement was suspended Wednesday in Franklin County Circuit Court during a review of the case.
Melissa Reene Strickler, 36, was placed on probation for two years and ordered to be of good behavior for 10 years. And she was ordered to continue her restitution payments of $500 a month.
Strickler was also ordered to finish her drug treatment program and use no illegal drugs.
During the review of the case, Strickler's attorney, Carolyn Furrow, said Strickler has "done very well" in the drug treatment program and has paid more than half the restitution of the money she embezzled.
Strickler was found guilty in December of embezzling $5,585 from Schewel Furniture in Rocky Mount over a three to four-month period in 2010, according to Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Patrick Nix.
Strickler was the credit manager at the store at the time, Nix said. The embezzlement occurred when customers came in and made cash payments on their credit accounts with the store.
"The customer was given a receipt of payment, but the receipt was canceled or deleted from store records, and she (Strickler) would take the money," Nix said. "Then she would advance the account so the person would not owe a payment that month, but would still owe the money."
After Strickler quit her job some time later, late notices went out to customers, Nix said. But one customer came in with a receipt showing that a payment had been made.
That resulted in the store making an internal investigation, Nix said. That was followed by an investigation by the Virginia State Police.
"Schewels was very cooperative with the state police investigation," Nix said, "and everything was corrected."
In 2007, Strickler was charged with felony embezzlement and pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of misdemeanor embezzlement, according to court records. Strickler received a suspended 12-month sentence on that charge.