Theft of nearly $86K in Chavez statue money brings probation
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A former director of the Michigan Hispanic/Latino Commission has been sentenced to five years of probation for stealing nearly $86,000 that was set aside for a Michigan statue to honor farm labor leader Cesar Chavez.
The Lansing State Journal reports 82-year-old Maria Louisa Mason of Williamston was given her punishment Wednesday and plans to sell a property near Higgins Lake in northern Michigan so she can pay restitution.
She says she’s “extremely sorry” and “very ashamed.”
Mason earlier pleaded guilty to embezzling money that included state tax dollars and private donations. The planned Lansing statue hasn’t been built.
The money allegedly was used to pay credit card bills, taxes and other personal expenses. The scheme spanned years and lasted until June 2015.
Mason retired in 2015 from state government work.
Information from: Lansing State Journal, http://www.lansingstatejournal.com