Peggy Ann Arutunian, 71, of Mathews, pleaded guilty and was found guilty of eight counts of embezzlement during a brief hearing Wednesday morning before Judge Jeffrey W. Shaw in Mathews County Circuit Court.
The courtroom was packed with members of the Animal Care Society of Mathews, the nonprofit organization from which Arutunian admitted to embezzling funds over a 16-month period while a board member and treasurer of the group.
Those in attendance were silent as Circuit Court Clerk Angela Ingram began reading the charges against Arutunian, who was dressed in a simple purple jacket and black pants. Her attorney, Conrad Bareford, interrupted and asked Shaw to dispense with the reading, since every charge was the same and the reading of one charge provided adequate proof of the crime.
But Shaw refused the request, and the charge was read repeatedly, with Ingram asking Arutunian eight times if she was guilty. Each time, the defendant, speaking clearly, said, “Yes.”
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