Woman who embezzled over $200K from city sentenced to jail

December 23, 2019 GMT

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A former city accountant who admitted to taking about $200,000 from the city for personal expenses has been ordered to spend a year in jail.

Reneda Welch, 40, was also sentenced Friday to five years probation and ordered to pay restitution, news outlets reported. Welch was the accountant for the city of Dunbar, in Kanawha County. She pleaded guilty in October to two counts of felony embezzlement.

A forensic audit found Welch took the money between 2014 and 2016, according to news outlets. The city didn’t have requirements for bookkeeping or receipts for transactions while Welch embezzled the money, Charleston Gazette-Mail reported citing a West Virginia Auditor’s Office investigation.

Welch said she began taking the money because the accountant job paid less than her previous job and her husband lost his job, the Gazette-Mail reported. Welch also apologized in court to her former co-workers.

Kanawha Circuit Judge Carrie Webster gave Welch 60 days to start her jail sentence, allowing Welch to get her medical affairs in order and spend time with her daughter. Welch is expected to report to jail in February, the newspaper reported.

Welch has already paid about $50,000 back to the city, according to news outlets.