Hartford Township Cemetery Caretaker charged with embezzling township funds

Hartford Township Cemetery Caretaker charged with embezzling township funds. (Jason Puhr WWMT)

HARTFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – A woman in Van Buren County has been accused of stealing as much as $100,000 from Hartford Township over several years.

Gerrie Heskett, 61, worked as the caretaker for both township cemeteries from 1997 to December of 2016. She was arraigned Wednesday, June 14, and charged with embezzlement, according to the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office. Details on how she stole the money have not been released, but the total stolen was between $50,000 and $100,000.

“It’s a shame,” said Gerald Baker who has lived in the township for eight years. “People come and visit their loved ones, and you know they want it to be a nice place."

The Van Buren Sheriff’s Office reported the Hartford Township Board asked for the investigation of Heskett in January 2017. After that investigation, the report said Heskett is suspected of taking the money between 2011 and 2016.

“It seems like it took them a long time to figure out it was going on,” said Baker about the Hartford Township Board’s request. “They're doing their jobs. They're looking into things and seeing where the money's going. Because a lot of things go on and you want to know where the money goes.”

Heskett will be back in court July 5 in the Van Buren County District Court in South Haven.

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