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Contracting firm bookkeeper receives one year in prison for embezzlement / February 07, 2018
A former bookkeeper for a local contractor was back in court Tuesday in Boydton to hear her punishment on new charges of embezzlement.

Robyn Gray received a one-year active prison term and was ordered to pay restitution of $2,400 and $1,857 in court costs. Mecklenburg County Circuit Judge Leslie Osborn granted work release privileges for Gray and said she must serve a year of supervised probation following incarceration.

In November, the former bookkeeper pleaded guilty to pilfering $2,400 from her employer, Howerton Construction in South Hill. She took the money while awaiting sentencing on a prior embezzlement conviction.

This is the second time in a year that Gray has received jail time for charges of theft.

In March, Gray was sentenced to four months active time after stealing nearly $17,000 while working as a bookkeeper for Virginia Quilting in La Crosse. She was arrested in May on the latest theft, this time from Howerton Construction.

Gray told Judge Osborn that it was her addiction to cocaine that led to the second incident: “I still was using cocaine daily and not right in the head,” she said. Since her release from jail on the first charge — Gray served her sentence from June through September — Gray says she’s found work at Newmart Builders in South Hill and has gotten clean and sober.

She told the court that she’s attending weekly Narcotics Anonymous meetings, reading the Bible and taking care of her family. Gray said she’s also trying to repay her victims, but it was pointed out by the prosecution that to date, she’s made only two payments to the court of less than $400.

Gray, through her attorney, had asked the court to suspend her entire sentence on the second charge, citing a need to care for her ailing husband and family. Commonwealth’s Attorney Allen Nash argued against the request, calling the second embezzlement “an aggravating offense.”

In the short time Gray was employed by Howerton, she wrote two unauthorized checks to herself, one for $2,000 and a second for $400. “She’s like a fox in the hen house,” said Nash.

Gray was further barred by the judge from having future contact with Howerton Construction. She is under a similar order in relation to Virginia Quilting and the company’s family owners.

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