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An Amherst woman was sentenced today to five year’s probation for embezzling $1,520 from a fund set up to help New York National Guard members at the Connecticut Street Armory and their families during the members’ yearlong deployment to Kuwait.

A judge also ordered Shana King, 24, to pay back the money to the Family Readiness Group fund.

King managed the fund on a volunteer basis.

Prosecutors said King took the money to support her drug habit.

State Supreme Court Justice Penny M. Wolfgang said the crime was especially egregious because it took money from the families and people “who serve our country and deserve our utmost respect.”

“Every penny must be returned to the people who need it and deserve it,” Wolfgang told King during the sentencing hearing.

King pleaded guilty in August to fourth-degree grand larceny for stealing the money between April 27, 2012, and Aug. 7, 2012, according to Erie County Assistant District Attorney Brian P. Dassero.

The fund helped pay for send-off and welcome-home parties for Guard members as well as for sending care packages to them while overseas and to their families at home.

King apologized to the National Guard and said she would return the money.

King faced a maximum prison sentence of up to four years.

email: jstaas@buffnews.com