June 19, 2014
A former Fluvanna County Chamber of Commerce member will spend 10 years behind bars for stealing a more than $1 million from a local business.
On Thursday a judge sentenced Brenda Van Emmenis to 165 years in prison, with all but 10 years suspended. Van Emmenis was also ordered to pay $858,301.06 in restitution.
Van Emmenis pleaded guilty 13 counts of embezzlement and seven counts of money laundering from National Filter Service in Fork Union from 2007 to 2013. She also admitted to stealing money from the company as early as 2004.
The Commonwealth's attorney said on 192 separate occasions the former vice president of the Fluvanna Co. Chamber of Commerce wrote herself checks, sometimes for thousands of dollars, and continued to steal money even while many of her co-workers payroll checks bounced.
Chris Fairchild, owner of National Filter Service and a former Fluvanna Co. supervisor says he hopes his company can move forward.
"It was not up to me what the Commonwealth was gonna ask for, but I do feel that justice was been served and just ready to move on," Fairchild said. "We had one of the best years we've ever had in 2013, and just looking to the future."
Van Emmenis' attorney said he was disappointed with the sentencing, and hoped the judge would take into consideration Van Emmesnis' history of abuse. However, the judge said she felt ten years was appropriate given Van Emmenis’ status in the community and causing "everyone in Fluvanna County to lose the dream" of making a local small business a success.