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Woman pleads guilty to embezzlement

A Cedar Springs woman pled guilty this week to embezzlement charges from Cedar Springs Junior Ball League.

Kathryn Rose Merritt, 38, pled guilty Monday.

Cash withdrawals, purchases at hotels and car rentals were discovered during the probe. The embezzlement reportedly occurred between 2013 and 2020. 

Merritt was charged with embezzlement of $1,000 or more but less than $20,000 from a non-profit or charitable organization. She faces up to 10 years in prison.

Cedar Springs Junior Ball League has a 16-acre facility on Shaner Avenue NE near 17 Mile Road, and offers a variety of programming for children.

The investigation got underway last year when Amy Gillette, president of CSJBL, filed an embezzlement complaint. She told investigators that prior to taking over as president of the league, “they never had enough money to make repairs or purchase any new equipment,’’ according to a probable cause affidavit.

Gillette told investigators that she retrieved bank statements and reviewed deposits and withdrawals, noting several financial discrepancies. They include numerous large cash withdrawals at ATMs, purchases at hotels, vacation rental, rental cars, etc. Amy then located on Kathryn Merritt’s Facebook similarities in dates of the hotel purchases, vacations, and locations the bank card was used throughout the United States.

Kent County Sheriff’s Deputy Charles Price wrote in a probable cause affidavit that Merritt was interviewed “and confessed that the card was used by her to make purchases that were not approved.’’

The unauthorized transactions topped $24,300, court records show.

Sentencing is August 3.

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Ray Winnie
Intandem Credit Union

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