Woman sentenced to jail in forgery case - WNEM TV 5

Woman sentenced to jail in forgery case

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
BAY CITY, MI (WNEM) -

A woman was sentenced to jail on Friday in connection to a forgery case in Bay City.

Stambaugh Appliances was once a staple in the community until the business and the trust in one employee were destroyed by an alleged act of embezzlement.

Now the business owner is facing incredibly hard times and the employee was sentenced to jail.

"It just destroyed my life completely," said Patricia Savage, owner of Stambaugh Appliances. "I had one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel."

The prominent Bay City business closed its doors for good two years ago after an employee was accused of embezzling for four years.

Savage said the employee took more than $300,000.

"She was taking money from people that came in to pay for appliances and putting it in her pocket and destroying the slips," Savage said.

That employee was Rebecca Beecher. She was charged with forgery and pleaded no contest.

"She worked for us for 18 years. I felt it was somebody I trusted like a daughter. She had keys to my house," Savage said.

Beecher was in charge of the store while Savage took care of her husband who suffered from dementia.

"I had no idea any of this was going on," Savage said.

As for the people who paid for appliances but never received them, Savage said she has tried to pay some of them back but she is broke.

"I couldn't. That was more than I could handle. Hopefully they're going to get some restitution," Savage said.

Savage is hoping this will be the end.

"It's been two years of hell. Just keep my fingers crosses that justice happens," Savage said.

On Dec. 22, Beecher received her sentence. 

"I am stunned," said Savage.

Savage thought her former employee would get probation. Instead, she was sentenced to time behind bars.

Savage claims the money went directly into Beecher's pockets. Beecher denied that claim, but did apologize in court for her role in ending the store's 40-year run.

"I just apologized and I have no words for the things that were done," Beecher said.

But Michael Savage said Beecher had plenty of words to say about his mother Patricia after TV5's story aired on Dec. 21.

He spoke during the proceeding, referring to a social media post supposedly authored by Beecher.

"As it relates to what was posted on channel five last night and I quote, she is a lying [bleep] who knew exactly what was going on in this store. And who set me up to take the fall of her many years of total ignorance," Michael Savage said.

The Department of Corrections made a recommendation for five years probation plus restitution. A sentence Beecher was hoping for, but Judge Harry Gill had other plans.

"It is the sentence of this court that you will serve a minimum sentence with the Department of Corrections of 24 months to the maximum statutory imposed by law of 168 months. The sentence beginning immediately," Gill said.

The judge said Beecher used Savage's trust in her to drive a dagger through her heart.

Now Beecher will spend the next two to 14 years in prison.

"I'm sorry that this is happening to her, but she should have thought of this a long time ago," Patricia Savage said.

TV5 did reach out to Beecher's supporters to find out if they had anything they wanted to say. They declined our request for an interview, but in court - as they were leaving - one of them shouted out towards Savage's family saying "I hope they rot in hell."

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