Woman who embezzled $124K from American Legion sentenced in court

TROY – A Bethel Twp., Miami County, woman was sentenced Monday to five years of community control and restitution for embezzling more than $124,000 from the Piqua American Legion Post 184.

Mary A. Branham, 46, was sentenced in Miami County Common Pleas Court on one count of felony theft for stealing from post bank accounts between Jan. 1, 2017, and Oct. 11, 2020.

“I do hope you understand the impact you have had not only on the legion but on the people, they serve,” Judge Jeanine Pratt told Branham.

The judge also noted that foundations and institutions that support the legion’s work receive their money from community members wanting to help others.

Branham said during a March hearing in which she pleaded guilty that she has a gambling addiction and has been getting treatment. A Piqua police detective said in his reports that Branham said she was taking money to play Keno while working at the legion post.

Branham cooperated with investigators from day one of the investigation, said defense lawyer Jon Paul Rion.

“I am ready to pay the restitution … to get this behind me,” Branham said.

Several legion post leaders attended the sentencing, but did not comment.

Branham has made $30,000 in restitution, leaving a $92,425 to repay, said Paul Watkins, first assistant county prosecutor.

Pratt sentenced Branham to complete five years of community control sanctions, pay restitution and court costs, continue mental health treatment, perform 50 hours of community service and attend gamblers’ anonymous at least twice weekly.

An 18-month prison term is available if Branham fails to comply with the conditions of community control, Pratt said, adding, “I hope not see you back Ms. Branham.”

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