Area woman pleads guilty

NEW CUMBERLAND-A New Cumberland woman accused of embezzling money from a Chester credit union pleaded guilty Friday to a lesser charge, according to Hancock County Magistrate Court records.

Magistrate Scott Hicks dismissed the felony charge of embezzlement against Marsha Ford, 59, and accepted her guilty plea to a charge of petit larceny, court records said.

Hicks sentenced Ford to six months in jail and then suspended the sentence. Ford was placed on one year of unsupervised probation with a $5-a-month probation fee. She also must pay court costs, records said.

There was nothing in the plea agreement about Ford making restitution to the Chester branch of First Choice America Community Federal Credit Union, where Ford worked as an assistant branch manager.

Neither Hancock County Prosecutor Jim Davis nor First Choice President Scott Winwood nor Wheeling defense attorney David Jividen could be reached for comment.

Ford was charged with embezzlement in September following an investigation into $5,000 that turned up missing from the Chester branch’s vault in May.

Ford and two other managers were questioned about the missing money, and all three denied taking it, according to the original criminal complaint, filed by West Virginia State Police Cpl. L.M. Roberts.

The vault is a dual control area in which no one person is supposed to disburse cash without a second person being present, the complaint said. On the day the money turned up missing, that protocol was not followed, the complaint said. There was no surveillance camera footage of the vault on that day either, the complaint said.

Ford confessed to the theft in a meeting with state police on Sept. 9, saying she was having financial difficulties at home. She said she was sorry and would pay it back, according to the complaint.