Sentence vacated for ministry embezzler

Moncrief pleaded guilty in May.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Ann Moncrief, who stole thousands from a church-based organization, won't have to go to prison after all.
At a hearing Wednesday, Judge Maureen A. Sweeney of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court vacated her previous two-year prison sentence given to Moncrief, 55, of West Heights, on a theft charge, a felony that carries a maximum five-year penalty.
The judge sentenced her July 12, and Moncrief was kept in the county jail until she could be taken to the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville.
Her lawyer, Samuel G. Amendolara, filed a motion Tuesday for Judge Sweeney to reconsider her sentence, claiming that community service for Moncrief was a better alternative than prison.
The county prosecutor's office did not oppose the motion for reconsideration of sentence since it initially requested probation for Moncrief with the understanding she would sign over her pension and the cash value of a life insurance policy as part of the restitution to Neighborhood Ministries.
Judge Sweeney ruled that rather than have Moncrief spend two years in prison with the court considering judicial release after six months, she could spend six months at the Community Corrections Association halfway facility on Market Street.
The judge said Moncrief must pay all costs for her CCA confinement and comply with all CCA programs she would be required to attend.
Further, Moncrief will perform community service at the Center for Community Empowerment, a re-entry program for ex-offenders, located at the Rockford Community Center on the city's East Side.
After her release from CCA, she will be on five years' probation with the Ohio Adult Parole Authority. The judge told Moncrief she would send her to prison if she violates probation.
Judge Sweeney continued her order that Moncrief forfeit her pension and life insurance policy's cash value to help make restitution.
Taking from the needy
Law enforcement officials said she embezzled more than $222,400 from the organization over a seven-year period. She was arrested last year.
Moncrief had worked more than 20 years for Neighborhood Ministries. She pleaded guilty May 25.
Neighborhood Ministries is a mission of the American Baptist Churches begun in 1913. It focuses on meeting the spiritual, physical and emotional needs of children in Rockford Village in Youngstown and Kirwan Homes in Campbell, which have a combined total of about 300 residents.
The organization gets its support through individual and church contributions, fund raising and grants, and is a United Way agency.

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