Toy charity thief ordered to pay $35k for needy kids

NEW LEXINGTON, OH (Toledo News Now) - Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced thousands of dollars in restitution will go towards holiday gifts for children in Perry County after a woman stole money from a charity over a three-year period.

The restitution order came Tuesday after a judge granted Martha Springer, 64, intervention in lieu of conviction on a fourth degree felony charge of embezzlement. 

Springer, the former operator of the Perry County charity Tips for Tots, stole tens of thousands of dollars from the charity between January 2008 and December 2010 to fund a gambling addiction.   Tips for Tots was a charity similar to, but not associated with, the well-known Toys for Tots Foundation, which provides gifts to underprivileged children during the holidays.

As a term of her intervention, Perry County Common Pleas Judge James Luce ordered that Springer pay $35,000 in restitution to be spent on gifts and other holiday programs for needy children in the area. Attorneys prosecuting the case for the Attorney General's Office argued in favor of a full conviction in addition to the restitution payments.  
"To steal donations meant for children at Christmas is simply disgusting," said DeWine. "Even though the judge presiding over the case chose to grant intervention in lieu of conviction, we are pleased that he has agreed to direct this money back to kids in need this holiday season."

A five-person board made up of representatives from various community organizations will decide specifically how the money will be spent. A portion of the payment will be used this Christmas.

As part of her intervention, Springer will be under court supervision for a minimum of one year. She must also complete numerous hours of community service.

Tips for Tots is no longer in operation.

Learn more information on how to make informed decisions about charity donations.

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