This story has been edited: Summit County Sheriff’s Lt. Scott Cottle corrected an earlier statement he had made by stating only one credit card was involved in this case.
NORTHFIELD CENTER — A Macedonia woman pleaded guilty Tuesday in connection with the theft of more than $10,000 while she worked for the area's former fire district.
According to Summit County Court of Common Pleas records, Timber Ridge Drive resident Rosemary D. Barrett, 58, pleaded guilty to fourth-degree felony theft in office as part of a plea deal and Judge Alison Breaux handed down a 12-month suspended sentence and ordered that she be placed on three years probation.
Barrett's attorney, Jose Feliciano Sr., did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment. Feliciano told the News Leader last September that he was trying to work out a plea deal in which Barrett would pay restitution.
“It was a mistake. We’re sorry. We take full responsibility,” he said previously.
Among the conditions of Barrett’s probation is that she pay $10,172 restitution, perform 100 hours of community service at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Macedonia and cooperate with an “ongoing investigation.”
Summit County Sheriff’s Lt. Scott Cottle said that an investigation determined Barrett used a credit card belonging to the former Northfield Center-Sagamore Hills Joint Fire District for personal purchases.
Cottle said that personal expenditures the investigation determined Barrett charged to the card included tuition and books for a female relative, a hotel stay for a vacation for herself, along with gasoline, meals and cash advances.
Barrett had been the fire district’s fiscal officer since January 2012. After the district disbanded in September 2016, trustees hired her on a temporary basis to close out the district’s financial books.
Cottle said the ongoing investigation involves the Ohio Auditor of State’s office verifying the forensic accounting that the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation conducted in the matter, as well as the auditor’s review of township financial policies and procedures related to the use of credit cards.
According to a Summit County Sheriff’s report, an investigation began last Aug. 1 when Northfield Center Trustee Paul Buescher reported someone may have used a credit card that belonged to the fire district to make nearly $600 in unauthorized purchases in fall 2016.
Following an initial investigation, Barrett was charged with fifth-degree felony theft in office Aug. 18 and an affidavit the sheriff’s office filed in Stow Municipal Court, accused Barrett of using the credit card to pay $1,500 for the school tuition and about $340 for a hotel room in North Carolina.
In September, a Summit County grand jury indicted Barrett with the more serious fourth-degree felony.