Monday, September 28, 2009
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Former Lincoln city clerk pleads guilty to embezzlement

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[September 28, 2009]  SPRINGFIELD -- A February sentencing has been scheduled for Melanie J. Riggs, former Lincoln city clerk, after she pleaded guilty last week to embezzling $46,650 from the city of Lincoln. On Thursday, 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.

InsuranceAccording to information disclosed in the factual basis of the plea agreement and during court proceedings, Riggs admitted that from at least sometime 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 Feb. 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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