Former county jail employee sentenced for embezzlement

November 27, 2018 | Courts|Headlines

By SHARON ROWEN, NewsCow Writer

NEWKIRK – A former Kay Co. Detention Center employee – convicted of stealing money from inmate commissary funds over a five-year period – has been ordered to spend five years in prison.

Melissa Ann Sprueill, 44, Stillwater, was sentenced Tuesday in Kay County District Court to 50 years in prison with all but five suspended.

On April 25, 2016, she was accused of taking $363,565 from the detention center and charged with five felony counts of embezzlement. She pleaded guilty to the charges on Oct. 15.

Melissa Ann Sprueill

Sprueill admitted to a scheme in which she regularly took money from a kiosk at the jail where family deposited money for inmates. At the time of her arrest, she told investigators she took the cash then altered paperwork to avoid detection.

She said inmates did receive credit for all money deposited in their names. Sprueill took the money, in part, to offset gambling losses. Her job at the detention center gave her access to the money kiosk and commissary fund books.

Sprueill’s attorney, Jarrod Stevenson, argued in court that others charged with embezzlement in Kay Co. had received probation.

He said defendants Margaret Sherrard, convicted of stealing from a church; Jennifer Carey, convicted of stealing $26,000 from a Newkirk wrestling club; Ashley Longcrier, convicted of stealing from a bank, and Will Clark, who is convicted of stealing from the district attorney’s office did not serve time. 

“So you can steal from Jesus, kids, businesses, and the district attorney but don’t you dare steal from the jail. That doesn’t make sense,” argued Stevenson.

Kay Co. District Attorney Brian Hermanson said Sprueill deserved a harsh sentence.

“The defendant in this case had admittingly committed hundreds of criminal acts by taking money from the jail repeatedly over and over again over a five year time period,” he said. “Her actions demanded that she be punished severely. While I asked the court for the defendant to serve a longer sentence, I am satisfied with the order of the judge.”