New Kent Charles City Chronicle

News for New Kent County and Charles City County, Virginia | November 1, 2020

Former clerk pleads guilty

By Robb Johnson | July 20, 2010 9:01 am

A former New Kent convenience store employee, who cashed in winnings from $2,400 in state lottery tickets she took from the place where she worked, has pleaded guilty in county circuit court on a pair of embezzlement counts.

Myrtle Grasberger, 41, formerly of 1507 Robin Grey Lane, Richmond, entered the pleas on July 12. State sentencing guidelines in the matter called for probation only and no jail time. Judge Thomas B. Hoover followed the guidelines, imposing five years in prison on each count and suspending all for the next 10 years, but ordered Grasberger to repay $2,400 to the owner of Bottoms Bridge Shell and pay back to the Virginia Lottery $1,359 in winnings she collected from the tickets.

On two occasions last November, Grasberger snatched a total of eight packs of lottery tickets and cashed in the winners at another location, prosecutor Linwood Gregory told the court. When confronted, she admitted to the thefts and told investigators she stole the tickets to help pay bills and support her children.

“I’m very sorry for what I did,” Grasberger told the court in apologizing to store owner Robert Marshall. She also said she has since lost her rental home and is living at a New Kent motel where she helps with cleaning in return for a room.

“From what I hear, she made a bad decision while in a desperate situation,” the judge said.

In another, unrelated case on July 12, Hoover followed terms of a plea deal in the matter of a contractor charged with felony construction fraud, passing a bad check, and obtaining property by false pretenses.

The plea deal reduced the bad check charge lodged against Bart D. Smith, 32, of 1215 Starling Drive, Richmond, to a misdemeanor while the other two felony counts were dropped. Smith, meanwhile, pleaded guilty to a contempt of court charge incurred when he failed to show up for trial in June.

Last Oct. 22, Smith passed what turned out to be a worthless $1,500 check for building supplies bought at Providence Forge Hardware. The check was never cashed.

Hoover imposed 12 months in jail with all but two suspended for the next 10 years on the bad check charge and 30 days for contempt.

Citing Smith’s criminal record that includes three previous convictions for writing bad checks plus an aggravated sexual battery conviction in 2000 in Hanover County, Hoover told the defendant, “I’ll accept the plea agreement, but looking at your extensive criminal record, I’ll see you back here again.”

In other cases on July 12:

–Richard Jeter Payne, 22, of 3653 Poverty Hall Road, Quinton, pleaded guilty under terms of a plea deal to an amended charge of possessing drug paraphernalia. He had been indicted for Oxycodone possession. Hoover imposed 12 months in jail with all but three suspended for the next five years.

–Robin Lois Watts, 46, of 2403 Farrand St., Henrico, has 10 months in jail to serve after Hoover agreed to reduce a felony conviction for obtaining money by false pretenses to misdemeanor petty larceny. Earlier, Watts had been convicted on the felony charge in connection with a replacement paycheck for $327 she received from Willie’s BBQ where she worked after claiming she did not receive the original check. Hoover imposed 12 months, suspending two for the next five years.