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Woman convicted of stealing from Arts Council of Southeast Missouri slow in making restitution

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Cape Girardeau woman convicted of stealing thousands of dollars from a not-for-profit agency has been sporadic in her restitution payments and may face prison time.

Valaree Rutherford is in danger of having her probation revoked because she has not been diligent with her restitution payments. She was due in court for a show-cause hearing Sept. 12, but the hearing was postponed until Dec. 12.

Rutherford pleaded guilty to felony forgery charges in July 2010 to stealing more than $13,000 from the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri by using a company credit card. Rutherford made nearly 40 unauthorized charges to the arts council's Staples credit card, which she used to buy miscellaneous gift cards and a GPS unit.

The state arts council helps fund the local organization each year, providing $21,118 of its overall projected $150,000 budget for 2012. The rest of the money comes from membership fees, donations, fundraising and grants.

Rutherford was employed by the organization from July 2006 to December 2009 as an administrative assistant.

Cape Girardeau County Circuit Court Judge Benjamin Lewis sentenced her to four years in prison but suspended execution of the sentence and ordered Rutherford to complete probation.

As part of the probation, Lewis ordered Rutherford to pay restitution of $16,223. He said she must have the total amount paid in full by Feb. 9, 2015.

To date, Rutherford has paid $749, according to court documents. The payments have not been on a monthly basis and ranged from $20 to $100, and the largest payment was more than $500, according to court documents.

On April 21, the state scheduled a show-cause hearing for Rutherford to explain why her probation should not be revoked for failure to pay restitution as ordered. At the time, she had not paid restitution since Oct. 21, 2010, and owed $15,644.70, according to court documents.

Since April, Rutherford has taken a part-time job at Dollar Tree and has paid $578.30 toward restitution. In July, Lewis recommended Rutherford get a second job.

Rutherford declined to comment on her restitution payment.



Pertinent address:

32 N. Main St. Cape Girardeau, MO

101 Court St. Jackson, MO

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Why doesn't she sell her Cadillac that she drives around on the southside? She stands around the south-side all the time. She isn't too worried about the money. She isn't too worried about jail either

-- Posted by cartman on Fri, Oct 28, 2011, at 6:54 PM

Place her on a angle braclet confined to her home (house arrest) and only allowed to leave each day for work, health reasons. House arrest until she catches up on her back payments. Also 300 hours of community service cleaning the parks and roadways. These people don't like house arrest confined to a certain area each day. That way the tax payers are not out the cost of housing her in jail place the burden on her back and not the tax payers.

-- Posted by swampeastmissouri on Sat, Oct 29, 2011, at 7:16 AM

But then she won't be able to drive around town and show off the trucks and Cadillac. Or stand on the corner of Bloomfield and Hanover with the rest of the people that don't work. Don't believe me? Drive down there and you will see her.

-- Posted by cartman on Sat, Oct 29, 2011, at 1:23 PM

Cartman, if you do not know she has a twin, then I guess you know nothing at all.

Southeast Missourian, this is not news, this feels personal. Shame on you, a regular Fox News. The judge is dealing with her and her non payment, it is honestly none of your business to air that level of information. The Missourian could have simply stated she is not current and is behind. I did not think this was a tabloid newspaper. Shame on you for implying what the judge is to do with his courtroom, as if he is not hired upon his own merits, but the merits of the people of the newspaper. Shame on you again.

Also, pray tell how are convicted criminals to move on and repay their debt to society with people like this newspaper focusing in on a person? I am sure she will not be able to get a job above minimum wage, plus she still has to house herself, eat, and find a way to get to work. That is difficult to accomplish for ANY person on minimum wage. House arrest and nothing else will help her pay back her debt if she is not able to maintain employment. You would think our community would not want to house another inmate that is costing us the tax payers millions. Is this news or harassment?

-- Posted by capeissilly on Mon, Oct 31, 2011, at 9:13 AM

@capeissilly...amen and amen again..

-- Posted by tamarac on Mon, Oct 31, 2011, at 9:19 AM

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