GREENVILLE — A video judicial release hearing was brought before Judge Jonathan P. Hein at Darke County Common Pleas Court on Friday morning. The hearing was in regards to Cheryl Riffell, 56, of Arcanum, who received a two-year prison sentence for embezzling nearly $180,000 from her former employer, Route 49 Transport.
The theft, a felony 3, occurred between 2013 and 2017.
Emphasizing Riffell’s lack of previous criminal history and low risk of recidivism, her defense attorney Alex Pendl stated his defendant has shown remorse and regret for her actions.
Pendl further cited completion and attendance in various prison programs, listing anger resolution seminar, addiction recovery program, Bible study and church, 117 hours of community service, and serving as a tutor and mentor to several other inmates.
Though not present for the hearing, Darke County Prosecutor Kelly Ormsby stated the victims of Riffell’s actions did not want to see an early release.
While Riffell had paid $35,000 towards the $180,000 stolen via a second mortgage on her home and selling of other property, Ormsby stated it was at best a sixth of what was taken, and did not cover continuing costs to the victims.
Understanding the victims did not favor an early release, Judge Hein agreed with statements from both Riffell and her attorney on her inability to pay restitution while in prison.
When asked about employment opportunities, Riffell stated a job opportunity is dependent on her release, and she plans to, “have my whole entire check go to Route 49.”
Wanting further, definitive details on pay, Riffle was uncertain as her husband was handling the details.
When asked if she had anything further to say, Riffell responded she was humbled by the experience, remorseful and, “I’ve learned a lot while I’ve sat here.”
Noting eligibility, Hein granted Riffell judicial release with 60 months’ probation, 100 hours community service, seek and maintain employment, complete any recommended programs and classes recommended by probation, payment towards restitution at her net earnings, and court costs.
Failure to comply, said Hein, means the remaining balance of the two-year sentence is still eligible to be imposed.
Reach reporter Bethany J. Royer-DeLong at 937-548-3330 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more news, features, and sports at DarkeCountyMedia.com.