Plea deal cuts $97,000 due wireless contractor that was embezzled by bookkeeper

In Featured News by Wireless Estimator

Tonia Cherry, 52, was arrested last Wednesday for fraudulently taking approximately $136,000 from her employer

Tonia Cherry, 52, pleaded guilty of fraudulently taking approximately $136,000 from her employer

If you are looking for a bookkeeper for your wireless construction company, there’s an Indianapolis, Ind. woman that is able to fulfill that role. But if you ask her previous employer’s owner, John Hammel of Tower Service and Manufacturing, for a recommendation, it is unlikely that it will be flattering.

However, he would be pleased to see 52-year-old Tonia Cherry capture gainful employment since the Johnson County Prosecutor’s Office is requiring her to reimburse Hammel $38,951 of the $136,000 she admitted stealing from him.

As reported by Wireless Estimator, Cherry was charged last July with stealing from Hammel’s Greenwood business over a three-year period that she worked at the company that has approximately 10 employees.

Her thefts were discovered when Hammel went to his bank to transfer $4,000 from his business checking account and he was told that he didn’t have enough funds to complete the transaction. Not so, he knew, because when he last checked his account there was more than $50,000 in it.

After authorities were contacted, Cherry was accused of making 256 unauthorized withdrawals totaling $77,622 from Hammel’s account and making 88 personal credit card payments in the amount of $58,139 using money from a business bank account.

Withdrawals totaling 139 were made at Indiana Grand Racing and Casino in Shelbyville. Cherry had used her casino player card around the time the ATM withdrawals were made, according to court documents.

She pleaded guilty February 24 to stealing the money, and in a plea agreement reached with the Johnson County prosecutor, admitted to two counts of theft and one count of fraud.

She received a sentence of one year on work release followed by a year of home detention, and when completed she will be on two years of probation.

Cherry was ordered to participate in substance abuse and gambling evaluation and treatment.

She could have received a sentence of seven and one-half years in jail for the Level 6 felonies.