Local Embezzler Sentenced to Prison

A local woman will be going to prison for at least the next 12 and a half years.

State Attorney Steve Meadows says Sherry Champion Jones was sentenced Monday in Bay County Circuit Court to 15 years in prison.

Jones, 48, of Panama City, had previously pleaded to 10 counts of grand theft, more than $100,000, committed while serving as comptroller for Tommy Thomas Chevrolet.

Total economic loss to the business, incurred over three and a half years, was estimated at $1.45 million.

Assistant State Attorney Larry Basford told the sentencing court that Jones committed over 1,100 separate crimes.

"She used her position of trust to facilitate this fraud on her employer on an almost daily basis," said Basford.

Under Florida law, Jones must serve at least 85 percent of her sentence before release.