BENTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) - The chairman of the Benton Harbor Cemetery Board has been charged with embezzlement.
Thomas Golba, 42, from Benton Harbor turned himself in to the Berrien County Fifth District Court on Tuesday after a warrant for embezzlement by an agent between $1000 to $20,000 had been issued.
The Cemetery Board is comprised of members appointed by the City of Benton Harbor. This Board has bylaws in which the members are bound to follow in operating a cemetery business. This includes a majority vote on issues such as distributing money.
Golba and three others were appointed to the Board, and Golba was later appointed as chairman.
One of the cemeteries under the Board's purview is the Crystal Springs Cemetery, 1655 E. Napier Ave. in Benton Township.
In July, the Board learned that Golba may have distributed cemetery funds without the Board's approval. The Board asked the Berrien County Sheriff's Office to investigate further.
Golba distributed more than $1,000 of the Crystal Springs Cemetery's money to individuals without the approval, or vote, of the board in whole, according to employees at the cemetery.
The employees further explained to police that the money was earned after cemetery scrap metals were cleaned out of a pole barn and sold to a local metal recycler in May.
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