All restitution owed to court wards in a 2004 embezzlement case has been repaid, but the former guardian and conservator at the center of the case still owes more than $25,000 to the county.
Susan Marie Berg, 52, Sanford, was accused of feeding a gambling habit by taking $237,698 from wards of the court from April 2002 to March 2004. She ultimately pleaded guilty to three counts of embezzlement from a vulnerable adult and was sentenced in the spring of 2005 to serve one year in jail followed by five years probation and to pay restitution in full. She paid $100,000 at the sentencing hearing.
On Jan. 11, visiting Huron County Circuit Judge M. Richard Knoblock discharged Berg from probation successfully and early -- it was due to last until March 18 -- and left the remaining restitution balance to be collected administratively. Probation terms were that Berg be employed, complete treatment including 30 days in an inpatient treatment program, not gamble and pay full restitution.
"She has paid every victim she stole from in full," said Chief Assistant Midland County Prosecutor Erik S.H. Wallen said of the more than $200,000 Berg has already paid. The remaining amount is for court costs and fees, as well as to repay the balance of attorney Barry George, who was appointed a special fiduciary in the case. His bill was $27,334, which was paid by Midland County, meaning the money to be repaid will go to the county, Wallen said.
At the review hearing, Berg said she is paying $50 monthly installments on the remaining restitution but would pay more if she could.
"That's 41 years from now before it'll be paid off," Beale said after doing the math. Berg explained she can't pay more because the attorney who represented her requires her to pay $200 per month, and she does not want him to file another court case against her to get that money. "I'd rather pay $200 here ... It was an agreement between the two of us," she said. "We are really close to maybe losing our house because of the economy."
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Victims Paid Resitution by Former Guardian