Woman charged with embezzlement from Marion Fair Board reaches plea agreement

Rebecca Johnson
Rebecca Johnson

REED CITY — A former Marion Fair Board member charged with embezzlement has reached a plea agreement with prosecutors.

Rebecca Jeanne Johnson, 43, of Marion, was arrested in February and charged with one count of embezzlement by an agent or trustee of more than $20,000, but less than $50,000.

Last week, Johnson was in Osceola County's 49th Circuit Court to enter a plea in her case. According to court records, Johnson pleaded guilty to an added count of embezzlement of more than $1,000 but less than $20,000. In exchange for pleading to the lesser charge, her initial charge was dismissed.

Embezzlement of more than $1,000 but less than $20,000 is a felony charge, with a possible penalty of five years in prison and fines of $10,000 or three times the amount embezzled, whichever is greater.

As part of the agreement, Johnson will likely be placed on a one-year delay of sentence. A delay of sentence is a probationary period, deferring a defendant's sentence until a later date and giving them a chance to meet certain conditions. Oftentimes, if the defendant fulfills the stipulations surrounding the probation, the charge can be reduced or completely cleared from a person's record.

Court documents did not specify the details of the proposed delay of sentence for Johnson. Records also did not indicate whether Johnson will pay any restitution or fines. Her official sentencing is set for 9:15 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 23, in Osceola County's 49th Circuit Court.

Johnson is accused of embezzling from the fair from January 2014 to September 2015, according to court documents.

The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office began investigating the Marion Fair Board after it was reported in September exhibitors from the July 2015 fair still had not received their money from the sale of livestock.

Once the investigation began, the board’s president, along with Johnson, who served as treasurer, resigned from their positions.

In October, a restructured Marion Fair Board was able to pay the more than $37,500 owed to 39 kids awaiting their checks.