'Addiction to money' gets her four years
A 37-year-old Hudson woman arrested last summer on charges she embezzled more than $100,000 from the doctors she worked for has been sentenced to four years in prison. Laurene Jones also will have to serve 10 years of probation after her release, according to Pinellas County court records. She was also ordered to repay about $115,500.
Jones pleaded guilty March 1 to two counts of scheme to defraud. When she was arrested in July, she told investigators she had an "addiction to money," according to Clearwater police. Police said that Jones redirected insurance reimbursement checks to her personal bank account between May 2006 and September 2009 while she was a bookkeeper and receptionist at two local doctor's offices.
Clearwater police began investigating after one of her employers, a doctor in Clearwater, reported to authorities that he had discovered some petty cash and a couple of checks were missing. Police said Jones endorsed some of the checks by either forging the doctors' signatures or using a signature stamp. She then made the checks payable to herself and deposited them in her own accounts. Court records show Jones was convicted in 1994 and 1995 of obtaining property in return for worthless checks. In 1995, she pleaded guilty to grand theft and forgery and was sentenced to five years' probation.