Former arts council assistant pleads guilty to credit card fraud

Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Valaree Rutherford

A Cape Girardeau woman accused of making more than $13,000 in unauthorized charges to a not-for-profit arts group's credit card pleaded guilty Monday to felony fraudulent use of a credit device before Circuit Court Judge Benjamin F. Lewis.

Valaree A. Rutherford, 24, an administrative assistant with the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri from July 2006 to December 2009, was charged with the felony in March, more than three months after arts council staff reported the incident to authorities.

Executive staff noticed a discrepancy in accounting and reported the fraud to police in December 2009.

According to court documents, Rutherford used the not-for-profit's Staples credit card to purchase Visa, T-Mobile, American Express and Macy's gift cards. In total, Rutherford made 39 unauthorized charges to the card.

Cape Girardeau County assistant prosecuting attorney Angel Woodruff said the state will recommend a suspended imposition of a four-year prison sentence and five years of supervised probation.

Lewis ordered a sentencing assessment report be completed and set Rutherford's sentencing for Aug. 9.

Woodruff also said she'd know more about the issue of restitution at the August sentencing hearing.

ehevern@semissourian.com

388-3635

Pertinent address:

32 N. Main St., Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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