On June 25, 29-year-old Alicia Marie Simatos is expected to be sentenced after pleading no contest to charges that she stole approximately $55,000 from her employer, Holistic Care Approach in Plainfield Township. Simatos could face up to 10 years in prison in connection with allegations that she embezzled money from the health facility.
According to news reports at Mlive.com, Simatos pocketed cash as she logged customers’ cash payments as if the customers were redeeming gift certificates. Holistic Care Approach provides an array of services to clients which include Reiki, skin tightening, acupuncture, and massage therapy. Kent County Sheriff’s Department investigators claim that the activity took place beginning in January of 2010 and continuing through January of this year. According to police, Simatos confessed.
While it was estimated that the defendant embezzled about $55,000 which would have left her facing a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, part of her plea agreement includes making restitution. The agreement allowed Simatos to plead no contest to embezzlement of between $20,000 and $50,000, which reduces the penalties and maximum prison time to 10 years.
While embezzlement, fraud, and other white-collar crimes generally involve no violence or threats, the penalties for a conviction can be extremely severe. As evidenced above, the defendant could have spent up to 15 years in prison had she not pleaded no contest to the charges. Even now, if sentenced to 10 years behind bars, it is a considerable portion of her life. Individuals who are found guilty of embezzling property or money valued at more than $100,000 face up to 20 years in prison, along with fines of up to $50,000 or three times the value of the property/money, whichever is greater.
Michigan criminal defense attorneys understand that when it comes to money, accounting, and other financial matters, the documentation and trail of evidence can be complex. Individuals who are completely innocent of any wrongdoing can be accused of financial or white-collar crimes. Regardless of whether you are innocent or guilty, it is critical to consult with a capable defense lawyer who will fight aggressively to protect your freedom and prevent a conviction, which could affect your reputation, career, and future.