Former Rose City secretary pleads guilty to stealing from public

Former Rose City secretary pleads guilty to stealing from public

UPDATE: Veronica Grant sentenced to eight years in prison.  Click here for more. http://theexaminer.com/stories/news/rose-city-secretary-sentenced-theft-public-funds

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In what Orange County District Attorney John Kimbrough called a "surprise" move, former Rose City secretary Veronica Grant pleaded guilty to theft by a public servant charges in Judge Dennis Powell's courtroom on Nov. 14 and threw herself on the mercy of the court. She made an open plea of guilty, meaning no plea agreement was negotiated and a jury will not be responsible for determining her punishment.

"What will happen is the judge will assess punishment," Kimbrough explained. "That will probably happen after a pre-sentence investigation is done, and then the judge will decide the punishment she will get."

Kimbrough said the pre-sentence investigation would include her personal and criminal history, the latter of which appears to be clear per a database search.  He said the open guilty plea was "a little unusual" because defendants or their attorney generally attempt some sort of negotiation, such as a plea agreement. However, according to Kimbrough, in rare circumstances when "the state has the goods" on a defendant or when plea negotiations break down, defendants make an open guilty plea. He said it will be up to the judge to assign penitentiary time or probation and to determine restitution in Grant's case.

"In this case, there are aggravating factors that go against her," Kimbrough said regarding sentencing. "She stole a large amount of money and stole it from the public."

According to Kimbrough, due to the amount of the theft, between $100,000 and $200,000, and the fact that Grant is charged with abusing her position as a public servant, she faces first-degree felony charges and, along with paying restitution, could be sentenced to between five and 10 years of incarceration or 10 years probation if convicted. He said Judge Powell would likely announce Grant's sentence in the next few weeks.

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