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Kingsport woman sentenced for embezzling money from charity bingo operation in Scott

Wes Bunch • Dec 11, 2012 at 10:51 AM

GATE CITY — A Kingsport woman who pleaded guilty earlier this year to embezzling money from a local charity bingo operation was sentenced last week during an appearance in Scott County Circuit Court.

Louise Harrison, 66, Bancroft Chapel Road, Kingsport, was given a 12-month suspended prison sentence and must complete two years of supervised probation as a result of pleading guilty to embezzling funds from the East Carters Valley Ruritan Club’s bingo operation.

Harrison was also ordered to pay a $2,500 fine.

“She had no prior criminal record, and because of that the judge stayed within the Virginia sentencing guidelines,” Scott County Commonwealth’s Attorney Marcus McClung said. “Our argument was when you take from a charity, you take from more than just the charity, you also take from those they help.”

The Ruritan Club did not reportedly seek reimbursement from Harrison.

Harrison was originally indicted in August 2011 on nine counts of gaming fraud and money laundering, while Brenda McNutt, of Kingsport, was indicted on three felony counts of conspiracy.

The charges against McNutt, and the remaining charges against Harrison, have since been dropped. Both women are also reportedly still involved with the Ruritan Club.

McClung said the indictments were sought due to an initial lack of cooperation with investigators.

“They had receipts for some of the things they were originally charged with, but she refused to give us those receipts,” McClung said.

Both women were charged following a three-year investigation by the Virginia State Police, the Office of Charitable Gaming’s Division of Consumer Protection and the Scott County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.

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