Admitted Embezzler Gets Prison
Police Say Mount Jackson Resident Stole Thousands
Posted: February 21, 2013
HARRISONBURG — A Mount Jackson woman who admitted to stealing money from her employer will spend the next two years behind bars.
Penny Shirkey, 44, was originally charged with 65 counts, mostly felonies, for embezzlement and forgery. Shirkey agreed to plead guilty on Oct. 16 to 12 felony counts of forgery and two felony counts of embezzlement.
On Tuesday, during a hearing in Rockingham County Circuit Court, Judge James Lane sentenced her to 36 years in prison, with all but two years suspended.
“This was a series of decisions on your part over a long period of time,” Lane told Shirkey. “It wasn’t sudden. It was planned. You have to pay a penalty for doing this.”
Lane also ordered Shirkey to repay $25,000 to her employer, Elite Insulation of Broadway. Prosecutors say she stole the money from January to October 2010.
A Rockingham County grand jury indicted her in June 2011, and she was arrested 10 days later.
During the hearing, Shirkey’s defense attorney, Kerry Armentrout, asked Lane to give her a suspended sentence and probation due to her medical condition. Last year, he said, Shirkey had a kidney removed.
“These health issues are still there,” he said.
Armentrout also noted that if his client were allowed to stay out of prison, she would be in a position to continue working to repay the debt.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Clark Ritchie argued that Shirkey deserved an active prison term and that the likelihood of the defendant paying the restitution anytime soon was slim.
Before being sentenced, she addressed the judge.
“I’d like to apologize for what I did. I want to pay them back as soon as I can,” said Shirkey, who added her health made her realize how important time is. “I don’t want to lose time with my family. Life is so short.”
Contact Pete DeLea at 574-6278 or firstname.lastname@example.org