GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A woman whose theft from a small Grand Rapids business cost 45 employees their Christmas bonuses was sent to prison for what a judge called a pattern of “horrible’’ behavior.
“It’s just a horrifying thing that you did; this betrayal,’’ Judge Curt Benson told 42-year-old Terry Jo Lamore.
Lamore embezzled more than $150,000 from The Screen Print Department, which prints and embroiders T-shirts, jackets and hats in a brick factory on the city’s Northwest Side.
The embezzlement came to light just before the pandemic, which served as a double hit for the locally-owned business.
“Employees look forward to raises and Christmas bonuses,’’ Human Resources Manager Renee Orr said. “And this year that just didn’t happen with that $150,000 taken from us.’’
It is not new territory for Lamore, who lists an address in Belmont. She embezzled more than $13,000 from a Kelloggsville Public Schools parent-teacher organization more than a decade ago.
Benson said Lamore’s pattern of criminal behavior justifies prison.
He sentenced Lamore to serve two to 20 years for embezzlement. She's also on the hook for $151,546 in restitution. Employees of The Screen Print Department watched the recent sentencing on YouTube.
“We actually shut down production because everybody here has a vested interest in what happens,’’ Orr said. “And they were pleased with the outcome of the court proceedings, to say the least.’’
Grand Rapids police launched a criminal investigation in early 2020 after company officials reported financial irregularities.
The embezzlement spanned about 13 months and got underway when Lamore began working with company finances. A warrant charging Lamore with embezzlement of $100,000 or more was authorized in March.
Investigators determined some of the embezzled funds were used for gambling. Orr said Lamore also bought herself flowers.
“And to have her come in every day and look you in the eye and be stealing from you,’’ Orr said. “There was no remorse; not anything from her.’’
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