Georgia Probate Court|Clerk Gets Six Years

     (CN) – The former chief clerk for the Chatham County, Ga. Probate Court has been sentenced to six years in prison for stealing more than $750,000 entrusted to her care.
     Prosecutors said Kim Birge, 61, embezzled and stole the money from the probate court’s banks accounts between January 2011 and November 2014.
     To carry out her scheme, they said, Birge deposited funds sent to the probate court for conservatorships into the court’s bank accounts, then wrote 342 checks payable to cash out of those accounts for her personal benefit.
     In January, Birge was sued by the mothers of children who lost their fathers in a 2008 explosion at Port Wentworth, Ga.-based Imperial Sugar refinery. The explosion that ripped through the refinery on Feb. 7, 2008, killed 14 workers and injured more than 40.
     Each of the woman, who were appointed conservators of their children’s property, received from litigation over the tragedy and were required to deposit the money with the Chatham County Probate Court after the court approved the settlement.
     Birge, then the clerk of court, confirmed she had received more than $114,000 belonging to the plaintiffs and deposited it in an account at The Savannah Bank. They claim Birge then made off with the funds.
     On Monday Birge filed an appeal of her sentence.

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