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90 Days for theft against Scouts

A Boy Scouts of America bookkeeper who admitted embezzling nearly $5,000 from a Grass Valley troop issued an apology at her sentencing Monday in Nevada County Superior Court.

“There is no excuse, and I am sorry,” 48-year-old Joy C. Richards of Grass Valley told two Troop 4 volunteers in attendance.

Judge Ersel Edwards then sentenced her to 90 days in jail and three years probation. She can apply for alternative sentencing, such as electronic-home monitoring, and must pay $775 in fines and fees.



Richards provided no apparent motive for the theft, other than, “I learned I cannot trust myself with other people’s money.”

In court Richards’ lawyer, Barbara Coffman of Nevada City, said Richards has received counseling since her arrest. Both later declined comment.




A probation department pre-sentence report also didn’t cover possible motives, said District Attorney Mike Ferguson.

Richards, the former treasurer for Troop 4, last year siphoned nearly $5,000, Grass Valley police say. She has paid back $2,000 and owes another $2,944, according to Tim Smith, troop board chairman, who attended sentencing.

“I appreciate Joy’s statement. I think the boys will appreciate that as well,” he said. Smith said Richards’ son had been a scout.

Edwards told Richards it’s rare for him to see first-time offenders her age and issued encouragement.

“I hope it was an aberration,” the judge said. “I know it was. I know you’re paying dearly for this.”

Richards’ sentence prohibits her from being a treasurer for any nonprofit agency.


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