Constance Jeannette Nowka, 85, of East Jordan was sentenced to six months probation and 250 hours of community service, in lieu of 90 days in jail, following her conviction on a charge of embezzlement $1,000 or more but less than $20,000.
Nowka pled no contest to the charge on December 4, 2015 and in exchange three identical charges were dismissed.
According to the affidavit of probable cause filed in the case and utilized by the Court for the no contest plea, as of January 15, 2014, Nowka was court appointed as guardian and/or conservator for 28 different wards of the Court.
The Michigan State Police investigation revealed that Nowka had taken wards’ funds for her personal use in three different ways – writing checks to herself from the wards’ accounts, writing checks to the ward from their own account but then depositing them into her account and depositing third party checks payable to the wards, such as tax refunds, insurance proceeds and disability, into her own account.
Pleadings filed in the case alleged that 16 people in total were victimized by Nowka.
In passing sentence, Judge Roy C. Hayes III termed it a “troubling case” that was “shocking” and “disturbing.” The judge said that due to the Defendant’s age no good would come to anyone from a jail term.
He also emphasized that Nowka had repaid all of her victims, according to probate court records and had no prior criminal history. Nowka did not speak at the sentencing hearing.
“Our primary concerns were ensuring that no other vulnerable people would be victimized and that they would be made financially whole,” Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof said. “This Defendant has had all of her guardianships revoked by the Courts and this felony on her record should ensure that she never handles money for any other person in the future.”