An Amherst woman pleaded guilty Wednesday before State Supreme Court Justice Penny M. Wolfgang to embezzling more than $1,500 in funds raised last year for families of New York National Guard troops from the Connecticut Street Armory assigned for yearlong duty in Kuwait.
Shana King, 24, of Sheridan Drive, pleaded guilty to fourth-degree grand larceny, the highest charge she faced. When she returns to court for sentencing Nov. 6, she could receive a prison term of up to four years.
Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III told The Buffalo News that King, who had volunteered to participate in the National Guard’s “Family Readiness Group” at the armory, stole about $1,520 in donated funds between April 27, 2012, and Aug. 7, 2012, to feed her drug habit.
King had volunteered to raise funds for the program, which paid for send-off parties and care packages for members of the Connecticut Street Armory units assigned to duty in the Middle East and to pay for welcome-home parties for Guard members and their families upon their return, Sedita said.
Sedita said he has ordered Assistant District Attorney Brian P. Dassero, who handled the investigation for his Special Investigations and Prosecutions Bureau, to press for full restitution and as much prison time as the judge thinks proper.
Sedita also lauded investigative work on the case by Detective Scott Piel of the Erie County Sheriff’s Office. King could not have been convicted of any higher charge had she decided to fight the case at trial, Sedita added.