The city of Cherryville is missing about $500,000 from its budget, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte. Two of its former employees – Bonny Alexander and Jennifer Hoyle – are facing federal embezzlement charges for misuse of $435,000 and $92,000 in public funds.
Alexander, Cherryville’s former finance director, and Hoyle, Cherryville’s former utility supervisor, were the subjects of a bill of information early last week filed by federal prosecutors in the U.S. District Court here in Charlotte. Both have informed prosecutors that they intend to plead guilty to the federal criminal financial charges, Alexander to five counts of embezzlement and Hoyle to three counts of fraud.
Alexander faces a possible 50 years in prison and $1.25 million fine. Hoyle faces up to 30 years in prison and a $750,000 fine.
Charging Individuals With Federal Crimes
There are two ways that federal prosecutors can bring formal charges against an individual for allegedly committing a federal crime:
- A bill of information
- A grand jury indictment
A bill of information is a direct accusation of an individual whereas a grand jury indictment requires the prosecutor to present evidence to a grand jury who then must determine whether an individual should be indicted for the crimes alleged. If a plea agreement has been negotiated it is not uncommon that the defendant will waive his or her right to a grand jury and a bill of information will be used as the charging document.
The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution requires that anyone facing death or more than a year in prison as punishment for federal crimes must first be indicted by a grand jury. The Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure allow a defendant to waive indictment after he or she has been informed of the charges faced and opts to waive indictment in open court.
Source: WSOCTV, “2 former Cherryville workers face federal charges,” January 15, 2012