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Meafua sentenced for embezzling

A former employee of Ace Hardware in Ronan will have six years to pay back his former employer after he admitted to embezzling more than $5,000. 

Benjamin M. Meafua, 23, admitted during an April 26 court appearance to using a manager’s pass code on a computer to return sold merchandise onto his own credit card. 

A review of the stores surveillance video shows Meafua working the cash register and swiping a credit card when the returns were made. The admission was part of a plea agreement that called for a joint recommendation of sentencing to be deferred for six years.

Lake County Attorney Steve Eschenbacher had to issue a warrant for Meafua’s arrest when he couldn’t be located in Lake County. He was later arrested on the warrant in Utah and brought back to Montana to face the theft charge. In addition to paying restitution of $5,323.90, Meafua will also have to pay the $800 public defender fee. He was given credit for having served 37 days in jail. 


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