Former museum employee pleads guilty to felony charges - Waynesboro News Virginian: Crime

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Former museum employee pleads guilty to felony charges

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Posted: Tuesday, August 20, 2013 6:45 am

A former marketing and sales director of Staunton's Frontier Culture Museum admitted Monday to using a state-issued credit card to purchase more than $34,000 worth of personal items over a three-year period.

Michael L. Sutton, 41, of Grottoes, offered pleas to 18 charges that include counts of embezzlement and obtaining money by false pretenses.

Sutton's attorney asked Circuit Judge Charles Ricketts for a presentence report. Sentencing will take place after the report is completed.

Assistant Staunton Commonwealth's Attorney Jeff Gaines told Ricketts that between the summer of 2009 and September 2012, Sutton used a state-issued credit card to purchase items totaling $34,355.

A large portion of the purchases came from a vendor close to the Frontier Culture Museum, Shenandoah Awards and Apparel. Gaines said on multiple occasions, Sutton went to the business and used the credit card to purchase baseball caps, embroidered sports bags, trophies and other items.

When Sutton was questioned by the business about the use of the state credit card, he said the youth baseball team he was purchasing the items for was sponsored by the museum, according to Gaines.

Sutton also used the credit card to purchase food in August of last year from Staunton Foods. He explained that the museum was having a picnic, but no such event was held.

Sutton's lawyer, James Dungan, told Ricketts that the majority of the items Sutton bought were for the youth baseball team, not him.

Sutton was indicted after an investigation was done by the Virginia State Police and the Auditor of Public Accounts.

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