ESCANABA - An Escanaba woman charged with embezzling more than $40,000 from Harbor Tower Apartments is scheduled to make a plea in the case later this month. Sentencing will follow immediately.
Mary Lynn Sweeney, 62, former director of the 174-apartment complex, was charged earlier this year with one count of a public officer embezzling public funds and converting those monies for her own private use. The felony carries a maximum sentencing of five years in prison.
Prior to her arrest in early February, a deal was made between the prosecutor's office and Sweeney: if she pleaded straight up and paid restitution, she would have no jail time because her medical condition would be a burden on the county jail staff. Her medical condition was not disclosed.
Sweeney has since paid a $43,700 cashier's check as restitution to the Escanaba Housing Commission, which manages the apartment complex.
On March 16, Sweeney entered a no contest plea to the embezzlement charge with the understanding she could withdraw her plea if the judge choose not to follow the prosecution's sentencing recommendation. A no contest plea is considered a guilty plea for sentencing purposes.
Prior to sentencing on April 27, Judge Stephen Davis announced he would not be following the prosecutor's recommendation, which included no jail time for the defendant. Sweeney's attorney, Trent Stupak, withdrew his client's previous no contest plea.
During a supplemental pretrial conference in the judges chambers on Wednesday, the defense and prosecution agreed to schedule Sweeney's plea and sentencing in circuit court at 9:45 a.m. on Friday, May 25.
Federal and local officials began investigating suspicious activity at Harbor Tower after police received a tip last summer of inappropriate actions taking place there. While director at Harbor Tower from 2005 to February 2012, Sweeney allegedly embezzled money by taking cash from a bill changer in the laundry room, according to Escanaba Public Safety.
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Jenny Lancour, (906) 786-2021, ext. 143, firstname.lastname@example.org