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Wednesday September 19, 2018

alleged embezzler faces judge

Friday, September 14, 2018 14:31 PM
Written by Stan Maddux
Category: Local News

It appears a New Buffalo woman accused of siphoning nearly $200,000 from her bedridden 90-year old aunt is prepared to plead guilty.

Jamie Staback, 42, appeared Friday in Berrien County Trial Court for a preliminary examination hearing on a charge of embezzlement.

According to courtroom officials, the case was transferred to Berrien County Circuit Court where a hearing to enter a projected guilty plea was set for September 25.

Staback could face an up to 20-year sentence.

However, the Berrien County Prosecutor's Office has discussed offering a plea agreement containing no more than a five-year sentence, according to New Buffalo Police reports about the case.

Initially, the victim when asked for her thoughts about the proposed guilty plea indicated she was more interested in her niece going to jail.

But, when informed the plea agreement under consideration would order time in prison and a refund of the stolen money, the victim agreed to it, police said.

According to police, Staback was caregiver for her homebound great-aunt the past six-years.

The investigation began in July when officials at the defendant's bank suspicious about recent activity with Staback's account notified law enforcement and the victim.

Police said Staback transferred more than $180,000 from the victim's account into an account she just opened then over the next 38 days spent close to $21,000 of the funds.

Staback as power of attorney for the woman was responsible for handling the victim's finances.

However, police said the account containing the embezzled funds was opened in the defendant's name only and none of the money went toward the victim's care.

Police said Staback, who was employed at the New Buffalo Animal Clinic, spent money on things like medication for her pets.

Other funds went toward purchases at local gas station/convenience stores and a restaurant.

So far, authorities have not shed much light on the remainder of the expenditures but the last four transactions prior to the account being frozen by the bank totaled more than $5,000, police said.
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