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South Hill defendant guilty of embezzling / June 16, 2021

Marah Taylor of South Hill faces up to 60 years in prison after pleading guilty Monday to one count of embezzlement and one count of conducting unlawful financial transactions.

The charges stem from a two-year scheme during which Taylor, while working in the marketing department of VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill, resold unused toner cartridges purchased for one of the hospital printers and deposited the money from the sales into her private bank account.

Taylor had been working for the hospital for about three years before the embezzlement began. Neither Taylor nor anyone on her behalf offered an explanation behind her decision to begin stealing from the hospital.

Mecklenburg Circuit Court Judge S. Anderson “Andy” Nelson accepted the plea agreement negotiated by Taylor’s defense lawyer, Charles Crowder, and Commonwealth’s Attorney Allen Nash. Nelson delayed sentencing for 90 days until a presentence investigation is completed.

Taylor was initially charged with eight counts of embezzlement and two counts of conducting unlawful financial transactions. Had she been convicted on all 10 counts, Taylor could have been sentenced to prison for 240 years.

In exchange for her plea, the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office dropped eight of the 10 charges but amended the remaining two charges to cover the entire period of the embezzlement.

She will learn her fate on Sept. 10.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert Burke, who stepped in for Nash, said that had the case gone to trial, the evidence would have shown that over a two-year period between June 2017 and June 2019 Taylor ordered and resold nearly 400 printer cartridges from Ricoh USA, the company that leased printing equipment to VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital. The cost of the cartridges was charged to the hospital, but Taylor pocketed the money from their resale.

Burke said the value of the cartridges was $110,778 but Taylor received $55,730 after selling them through an online website,

An audit of the hospital’s toner purchases ordered by CMH vice president of finance Ken Libby and performed by Ricoh USA uncovered the scheme. Burke said the auditors were able to trace the sales transactions back to Taylor’s personal email account, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Burke told the court that Taylor’s prior legal name was Marah Michael.

She was arrested on March 17, 2020, after being indicted by the grand jury on March 16, 2020.

Crowder, Taylor’s attorney, said the rendition of facts laid out by Burke was “fairly accurate,” though he said the number and value of the cartridges Taylor stole from the hospital was “a lot less.” Crowder added that the value of the toner cartridges is essential to calculating the amount of restitution Taylor should be ordered to pay.

Nelson replied that “restitution should be based on the amount [of money] she [Taylor] collected.”

Given the chance to speak, Taylor said she had no comment. She did seek permission to leave Virginia for three days to attend a family funeral in Pennsylvania. Nelson granted her request.

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