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Former Lincoln City Clerk Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

September 28, 2009

Springfield, Ill. – Sentencing has been scheduled on February 1, 2010, for former Lincoln City Clerk, Melanie J. Riggs, after she pled guilty last week to embezzling $46,650 from the city of Lincoln, Illinois. On September 24, 2009, Riggs, 48, of the 200 block of Palmer Avenue in Lincoln, waived indictment and entered a plea of guilty to an information charging her with one count of embezzling government funds.

According to information disclosed in the factual basis of the plea agreement and during court proceedings, Riggs admitted that from at least some time in 2007 through the end of January 2009, she embezzled at least $46,650 in government funds for her personal use. As city clerk, Riggs administered the city’s centralized purchasing program. Riggs admitted she misdirected city checks intended for payment for city purchases to her personal use. Riggs admitted she photocopied city checks without completing the payee, then placed a legitimate payee’s name on the copy. The copy of the check was then given to the deputy clerk for posting. On the original check, Riggs then made the city of Lincoln the payee and cashed the check.

Sentencing is scheduled on February 1, 2010, at 2:30 p.m. before U.S. District Judge Jeanne E. Scott. The offense of embezzlement carries a statutory penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. The defendant may also be ordered to pay restitution to victims of the offense.

The charge is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Illinois State Police, with cooperation by the office of Logan County State’s Attorney Michael D. McIntosh. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick D. Hansen.

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