Woman gets jail for 2016 retail fraud

Melissa Rose Meshigaud-Ritchie

ESCANABA — A Wilson woman — who failed to appear for her sentencing nine months ago — was sentenced in Delta County Circuit Court on Friday in connection with the theft of merchandise from two Escanaba stores in 2016.

Melissa Rose Meshigaud-Ritchie, 37, was sentenced to 90 days in jail on one count of conspiracy to first-degree retail fraud, a five-year felony, which she pleaded guilty to in early 2017 but failed to show for sentencing last April.

Meshigaud-Ritchie was arrested in December 2016 along with co-defendants Veronica Mae Williams, 28, and Manitoubani Wandahsega, 35, all of Wilson, for stealing nearly $3,000 worth of security systems and miscellaneous merchandise from Menards and Dunham’s Sports earlier that month.

According to Escanaba Public Safety, the three removed items from the stores through doors that were locked from the outside but not the inside.

In February 2017, Meshigaud-Ritchie pleaded guilty to conspiracy to first-degree retail fraud but failed to appear for her April 24 circuit court sentencing and was charged with contempt of court.

During her sentencing Friday, Meshigaud-Ritchie was given credit for serving 55 days in jail. The balance of her 90-day sentence was suspended due to her having a serious medical condition. She ­admitted in court she was drunk when the theft occurred and she nearly died in jail due to her health issue.

She was placed on probation for 12 months and ordered to have no alcohol or illegal drugs and cannot enter bars. She must undergo drug testing. She was also ordered to have no contact and not be within 500 feet of Menards or Dunham’s.

In addition to being fined $1,028 in court costs, Meshigaud-Ritchie was ordered to pay joint restitution with Wandahsega and Williams including $2,399 to Menards and $434 to Dunham’s.

Wandahsega was sentenced in circuit court in April 2017 to two concurrent prison sentences of three years to up to 10 years on two counts of first-degree retail fraud as a third offense habitual offender. He is incarcerated at a prison in downstate Jackson.

Williams was sentenced in circuit court in June 2017 to 12 months in jail on one count of attempted retail fraud, first degree.

Williams’ sentencing went above and beyond the three-month maximum misdemeanor due to her behavior in jail. She was charged with assault in the jail and she also attempted to bring drugs into the jail.

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Jenny Lancour, (906) 786-2021, ext. 143, jlancour@dailypress.net

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