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PROVIDENCE â€“ A Superior Court judge Wednesday sentenced former Woonsocket Municipal Court Clerk Rachel Arruda to an 18-month prison term and ordered her to make $60,000 restitution after she entered a plea of no contest to 2011 state police charges of embezzling nearly $400,000 from the struggling city.
Judge Jeffrey Lanphear ordered Arruda to surrender to authorities on Sept. 10 to begin serving her sentence at the Adult Correctional Institutions, Cranston, rejecting lawyer Mark Smithâ€™s plea for home confinement.
Smith said his client stole money from Woonsocket because of unspecified â€śfamily struggles.â€ť Arruda, 64, has had legal guardianship over her 9-year-old granddaughter for most of the childâ€™s life. She retired in mid-2010 after more than three decades of employment with the city, most of them as the first clerk of a municipal court established in 1987 to collect traffic fines. Sheâ€™s never been in trouble with the law before.
Full story appears on page A1 of Thursday's Call.