Mande Lynn Bishop, a 39-year-old Grand Rapids woman formerly employed as an officer manager for Strategic National, a political consulting firm, recently pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $148,000 from her employer to play Keno. News reports at Mlive.com state Bishop embezzled the money over a six-month period beginning in January of last year.
Bishop was sentenced to one year in jail and ordered to pay restitution of nearly $150,000. On Tuesday January 21 Bishop attended her sentencing hearing, bringing a $25,000 check to begin paying the restitution, according to her defense attorney who said the check would be delivered to the court clerk’s office that day.
According to Grand Rapids police, the defendant confessed that she had forged checks written directly to herself, using the money to play Keno, a state lottery game. Bishop said in court that she was sorry for her “despicable” actions, and very remorseful. Because she is a mother of a 2 1/2 year old child with no prior felony convictions, she asked Judge Donald Johnston to consider these factors when determining her sentence. While the judge considered these facts, he said that considering the time span of the embezzlement and the hefty total, a period of confinement was in order. Bishop will begin her 12-month jail sentence on January 31; the judge allowed her to return home until that time.
Embezzling is a very serious criminal offense in the state of Michigan. In fact, the criminal penalties for those convicted vary depending on factors including the amount of money involved. Had Bishop not pleaded guilty and gone on trial, she may have faced up to 20 years in prison for this felony crime.
Determining whether to plead guilty, accept a plea agreement offered by prosecutors, or go to trial is often one of the most complicated aspects of the criminal process. Regardless of the criminal offense an individual has been charged with, a skilled Michigan criminal defense attorney can help the client make critical decisions and determine the best legal strategy in order to ensure the best possible outcome.