NEW LEXINGTON – Buckeye Lake area resident Martha “Marty” Springer was sentenced Monday for stealing money from the Tips for Tots charity in Perry County, but not everyone believes justice was served.
“No, not at all,” said Thornville Toy Store owner Frank Correll, who will serve on a five-member panel that will decide how to distribute money Springer was ordered to repay as restitution. He believes the court could’ve been far stricter with Springer and demanded she repay more money than the $35,000 the judge ordered.
According to a press release issued Monday, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced that thousands of dollars of Springer’s restitution would go towards holiday gifts for children in Perry County.
The restitution order came after a judge granted Springer, 64, intervention in lieu of conviction on a fourth degree felony charge of embezzlement.
Springer, the former coordinator of the Buckeye Lake area Tips for Tots charity, 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. Tips for Tots started with guest bartenders soliciting tips at some lake area bars to buy Christmas toys for needy children.
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 Ohio 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 in the release. “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 will decide specifically how the money will be spent. Attorney General spokesperson Jill Del Greco said the other members of the panel include Denise Chrysler, representing AMVETS; Thornville Elementary School principal Matt Sheridan; Glenford Elementary School secretary Lori Young; and Buckeye Lake Moose Lodge representative Cliff Ohlerman.
Correll said a portion of the payment will be used this Christmas. “We want to see where we can help this year,” he said. Correll added that he believes the money isn’t solely limited to distribution during the holidays, as long as it all goes to children in need. “That’s what it was raised for and that’s what it’ll be used for,” he said.
As part of her intervention, Springer will be under court supervision for a minimum of one year. She must also complete many hours of community service. Correll said there would be a hearing in December of next year to review how Springer is fulfilling court requirements.
Tips for Tots is no longer in operation.