Chelsea woman who stole from Ann Arbor Amateur Hockey Association given chance to pay restitution
The new treasurer of the Ann Arbor Amateur Hockey Association isn’t pleased the woman convicted of embezzling nearly $1 million from the organization may not see time behind bars.
“Honestly, I think in a crime of this type, it’s to society’s benefit that people go to jail,” said Lindsay Aspegren, who has been the treasurer since June. “It’s calculated. Premeditated ... And honestly, I really think that people who are in a trusted position like this need to understand that they’re held to a higher standard.”
Today, a judge delayed sentencing for a year for Kimberly Kay Knight, 45, of Chelsea, who is the association’s former bookkeeper.
Knight, a married mother of three with no criminal record, pleaded guilty in June to two counts of embezzlement.
Under the agreement with Washtenaw County Circuit Judge Melinda Morris, Knight must pay $75,000 to the association within 10 days.
After that, she has to pay about $624,000 at a rate of a minimum of $1,500 a month. She also must pay $50,000 in restitution to an insurance company.
Knight has a year to prove she's capable of making the payments and deserves probation and not prison time.
Knight wrote checks to herself and transferred funds into her bank accounts between June 2005 and August 2007, Pittsfield Township police have said.
Investigators say Knight used the money for expensive jewelry, elaborate family vacations and items including a 2005 Cadillac Escalade.
She wasn’t desperate to pay a heating bill or buy shoes for her children, Karen Coulter, the association’s secretary, said during this afternoon’s hearing.
Knight has done irreparable damage to the association, the youths it serves and the Ann Arbor Ice Cube where it operates, Coulter said.
The group serves about 650 youths ages 4 to 19 and planned to build its own ice rink with money Knight siphoned away.
“Her only remorse was that she got caught,” Coulter said. “Her only fear was discovery.”
Knight, who was wiping away tears before the hearing, told the judge she was sorry.
Her attorney, Michael LeGris, said Knight paid $221,000 in restitution in 2007. Prosecutors say she was simply returning money she stole in an attempt to cover her tracks; it's unclear whether Knight knew at the time that she was a target of a criminal investigation.
Putting Knight in jail won’t result in the association receiving a dime, he said.
“She’ll sell everything she has to try and make the association whole,” he said.
Knight must sell her house and will work for her husband, but it’s unclear doing what.
Probation officers will have access to his company’s financial records to determine whether Knight is capable of paying more than the $1,500 a month, Morris said.
“You were in a position of trust,” Morris said. “You breached that trust and at the expense of many people in this community.”
Photo by Melanie Maxwell, AnnArbor.com: Kimberly Knight looks at the floor during her hearing today.