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News Briefs: Lanesborough woman admits to embezzlement; Egremont man guilty of domestic violence

By Monday, Feb 10, 2020 News

Lanesborough woman admits to embezzling public funds

Pittsfield — The Berkshire District Attorney’s Office secured a guilty plea in an embezzlement of public funds case on Friday.

Elizabeth Hakes, 48, of Lanesborough admitted in Berkshire Superior Court on Friday to embezzling shy of $50,000 from Berkshire Works and Austen Riggs Center. She pled guilty on two counts of larceny over $1,200 by a single scheme.

The Berkshire District Attorney’s Office requested 18 months of incarceration and two years of probation following. Defense counsel requested a suspended sentence and two years’ probation. The state’s sentence guidelines call for up to two years of incarceration.

Judge John Agostini sentenced her to two years at the House of Corrections, with one of those years being suspended, and two years of probation following.

Hakes managed federal grant funds for job creation programs at Berkshire Works. She used approximately $21,000 of that for personal use between May 2016 and August 2017. Hakes then embezzled approximately $26,000 from Austen Riggs Center while working there between October 2017 and October 2018.

“This was an abuse of taxpayer money intended to help residents improve their lives. Those who work in the public sector have the responsibility to use taxpayers’ funds to strengthen the community they live in. Crimes like this undermine the public’s trust in government,” District Attorney Andrea Harrington said. “My office prosecutes these ‘white-collar’ crimes with the same vigor as any other type of crime.”

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Egremont man found guilty in domestic violence case

Pittsfield — The Berkshire District Attorney’s Office received a guilty verdict against an Egremont man with a history of domestic violence on a single count of assault and battery on a household member.

A Southern Berkshire District Court jury found Javier Rosales, 51, guilty on the charge on Thursday. Rosales attacked his wife Aug.17, 2019. Judge Paul Smyth scheduled sentencing for March.

“This is an example of how my office’s priority on domestic violence plays out in the justice system. The victim had the courage to come forward after years of abuse. We believe victims and work on their behalf to hold perpetrators accountable,” District Attorney Andrea Harrington said.

The victim reported multiple instances of verbal and physical abuse dating back to 2015.

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