A young woman whose spending spree left her disabled father in financial ruins was ordered this week to serve four and a half years in prison.

Emily Michelle Toney, 24, was sentenced in Spotsylvania County Circuit Court to a total of 30 years in prison, with all but 54 months suspended. She had previously pleaded guilty to six felony counts of embezzlement.

Judge William Glover’s sentence was near the top of the recommended state sentencing guidelines, which called for a maximum active sentence of four years and nine months.

According to the evidence presented by prosecutor Jeff Adams, the thefts took place in 2017 and 2018 after Toney had been entrusted with her father’s finances. The father had suffered a stroke and was disabled in 2011; he later turned over his checkbook and credit cards to his daughter and asked her to take care of his finances.

Instead of handling her father’s bills, Adams said, Toney went on vacations and purchased other things for herself. Adams said the total amount of the theft was in excess of $60,000, though the defense contends it was about $47,000.

The family learned of the man’s dire financial situation in summer 2018, after Toney left for Florida. Family members went to law enforcement after giving Toney a few months to make things right. Instead, she ignored them and posted pictures of herself online at the beach and dancing in Florida.

“Her whole life was a scam,” Adams said. “She left the house each day pretending she had a job. Instead, she was out spending her father’s money.”

Defense attorney John Mell agreed that Toney made some immature decisions, but he argued that six months was more than enough active prison time for her to serve. Mell cited her age and lack of any prior criminal record as reasons for leniency, and said options such as work release, probation and electronic incarceration were reasonable alternatives to a lengthy prison term.

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Keith Epps: 540/374-5404


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