A former Martinsville Village Council president pleaded guilty Tuesday to theft in office, unlawful interest in a public contract, dereliction of duty and another charge connected to her role as a public official.
Carole Robinson, 75, of Martinsville, will be sentenced in mid-September. At that hearing, prosecution and defense counsel will jointly recommend to the judge a suspended 30-month prison sentence, one year of house arrest and an order that $7,046 restitution be paid to the village.
As part of a plea agreement, prosecution agreed to drop two of the more serious-level felony charges against Robinson — engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and tampering with records, which are second-degree and third-degree felony offenses respectively.
Clinton County Assistant Prosecutor Andrew McCoy said in court, “After an extensive review of the evidence, it appears that these [charges pleaded to] are probably the charges we can prove. And in the interests of equity and justice, [those same charges] are probably the most appropriate for her acts in terms of her financial benefit that she received as a result of her crimes.”
Following the hearing, McCoy said the restitution figure was determined by the Auditor of State’s forensic accountant to be the amount for which Robinson had signed certain checks and accordingly would be the amount she would be culpable for herself.
The checks at issue, said McCoy, were six signed checks made payable to her grandson and former village employee James R. Robinson for which “he allegedly did not complete any work.”
Clinton County Common Pleas Judge John W. “Tim” Rudduck is not bound by the jointly recommended penalty found in the plea agreement. But he did note that prosecution’s stance on sentencing is “a significant factor” he will consider when issuing his sentence Sept. 15.
The recommended house arrest, which would be monitored by the court’s probation department, basically means Carole Robinson couldn’t leave her house without permission of the court or court staff, Rudduck advised her Tuesday.
Previously, James Robinson received a nine-year prison term for public corruption and manufacturing meth. He also was ordered to pay $28,701 restitution to the village for unauthorized purchases, fined $15,000 and had his operator’s license suspended for 10 years.
Also charged in the matter are former Martinsville mayor and mother of James Robinson, Rayetta Robinson, 56, former village fiscal officer Sheri Watson, 55, and former village administrator Patience Comberger, 35.
Gary Huffenberger can be reached at 937-382-2574 ext. 2512 or on Twitter @GHuffenberger.