Embezzler Turned Arsonist??

Joy Cronin, former finance officer for Mill City, Oregon, was recently sentenced to three years for three counts of Arson.  She was ordered to pay $373k in restitution.  Cronin allegedly started a fire in order to cover up a $20,000 embezzlement of city funds which were deposited into her bank account.   The jury was told that the deposits stopped after the fire.

While setting the fire, Cronin severely burned herself and had to call 911. Authorities later found gas can tags in Cronin’s car that matched the cans found in the burned building.

Cronin, who maintained her innocence and pleaded that way, claimed she was in the city hall after hours because she had seen a light on when driving by and stopped to turn it off. While she was inside there was an explosion and flames erupted around her.

Mill City Mayor Tim Kirsch offered his take on the jury’s verdict. Although the community has since rebuilt its city hall, he said many still feel the trauma of the crime.

“I feel that this was the correct verdict in regard to the amount of evidence against Ms. Cronin. It however does not bring full closure to the city as we are still dealing with the aftermath and a divide it (has) caused in the city and (among) its citizens,” Kirsch said.

Prior to the fire, an auditor had asked Cronin for receipts that she claimed were missing. The city did not have a system for verifying or double-checking Cronin’s work, nor did it have any way of keeping records off-site.

“This is a case where she’s the only person who could have done it,” DDA Yardumian said.

 Mill City City Recorder Stacie Cook said at the sentencing that the fire also created divisiveness and mistrust in the community, according to The AP report.

For a recent presentation on Pink Collar Crime I did some research into Ms. Cronin.  She had a prior DUI arrest and a restraining order filed.  This personal background is very much indicative of female embezzlement suspects according to Dr. Linda Grounds.  Out of the approximately 30 individuals she has interviewed they only have DUI arrests if any and have a history of abuse.  Please see Dr. Grounds blog for further information:  www.drlindagrounds.com.