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Lanesborough Woman Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A Lanesborough woman pleaded guilty in Berkshire Superior Court on Friday to embezzling nearly $50,000 over a period of two years. 
 
Elizabeth Hakes, 48, admitted to guilt on two counts of larceny over $1,200 by a single scheme related to embezzling funds from Berkshire Works and the Austen Riggs Center.
 
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, the regional office of the state's employment board now known as the MassHire Berkshire Career Center. 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 at the Stockbridge psychiatric center 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 taxpayer's funds to strengthen the community they live in," said District Attorney Andrea Harrington. "Crimes like this undermine the public’s trust in government. My office prosecutes these 'white-collar' crimes with the same vigor as any other type of crime."
     

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