A retired Grant County parole officer will spend a year and a half in prison for stealing money from parolees.
Sherry Buswell pleaded no contest to 21 felonies as part of a plea deal. All of the other charges were misdemeanors and were dismissed.
She was also sentenced Wednesday to pay more than $8,000 in restitution to each of her victims and write each of the victims a letter of apology.
Buswell was accused of taking money from at least 21 parolees and depositing the money into her own bank account.
A criminal complaint alleges Buswell took money and deposited it into her personal bank account.
Buswell was assigned to the Probation and Parole unit in Lancaster for 16 years. She retired in January of 2013, but about nine months earlier, she was put on administrative leave.
The complaint said from June 8, 2011 to June 20, 2012, Buswell “intentionally did an act which the employee knew is in excess of the employee’s lawful authority.”
The investigation started when a co-worker became concerned when reviewing Buswell’s cases. The co-worker reported that there appeared to be “numerous inconsistencies." Buswell was placed on leave and her caseload was distributed to other agents.
Offenders then started to question the amount of supervision fees they still owed. They used money orders, made out to the Department of Corrections, to pay off the fees. In the complaint, the amount of money orders ranged from $30 to $300.
A special Richland County prosecutor was assigned to the case. Richland County District Attorney Jennifer Harper said her office went back three years, but didn’t find any more “inconsistencies” in Buswell’s cases.