Hudson woman sentenced in embezzlement
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 must serve 10 years of probation after her release, according to Pinellas County court records. She was 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, then made the checks payable to herself and deposited them.
Weigh in on what county cuts out
Pinellas County residents are invited to tell county commissioners which county government services should continue to be funded during three community input meetings. The first meeting is from 5:30 to 7:30 today at Palm Harbor University High School, 1900 Omaha St., Palm Harbor. The second meeting will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Dixie Hollins High School, 4940 62nd St. N, St. Petersburg. The third meeting, an e-townhall, will be from 6:30 to 8 p.m. April 6 at www.pinellascounty.org/eTownHall. The meetings precede development of the county budget for the next fiscal year. County officials expect to make cuts because of a revenue shortfall.
Have lunch to help veterinary school
The Tarpon Springs High School Veterinary Science Academy is seeking sponsors for its annual fundraiser scheduled for April 9. A barbecue lunch, with smoked chicken or pork, will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the school's cafeteria, 1411 Gulf Road, Tarpon Springs. Proceeds will help provide the lab with supplies for surgeries and for feeding and housing animals. The cost for the barbecue lunch is $10. For more information about sponsorships, call Erica Lynford at (727) 224-2978.