Grove City Food Pantry and Emergency Services staff and volunteers are satisfied with the two-year prison sentence handed down to its former treasurer at a hearing in federal court last week.

Grove City Food Pantry and Emergency Services staff and volunteers are satisfied with the two-year prison sentence handed down to its former treasurer at a hearing in federal court last week.

On Wednesday, May 18, U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Marbley ordered Gayle J. Tatman to spend two years in prison for embezzling from the charity.

She also was ordered to pay back the money, which totaled nearly $213,000.

"I want this to be more than a slap on the wrist or a wake-up call," The Columbus Dispatch quoted Marbley as saying.

Tatman, 59, of Lombard Road on the West Side, pleaded guilty in January in federal court to one count of bank fraud for embezzling about $30,000 a year from May 2002 to April 2009.

Donald Swogger, president of the Grove City Food Pantry and Emergency Services, said he discovered the theft in April 2009 after a donation made by check never showed up on the books.

"Our main concern was that we turned it over to the proper authorities and let them do what they thought was necessary according to law," Swogger said. "We're just glad it's over."

Thefts from the food pantry began as early as May 2002 based on bank records, Swogger said. Tatman originally worked for a local church associated with the food pantry.

"The pastor there let her take care of the records and she was paid through one of the churches," Swogger said.

At the time, Tatman was the only person in charge of the food pantry's books. The organization has since revamped its financial oversight, Swogger said.

"Our accounting procedures are totally different," he said. "We have two people to handle the incoming and another person takes care of the outgoing, and then it's turned over to another person to be verified and the checks written."

The Grove City Food Pantry and Emergency Services serves more than 2,400 local families a year.

"We go through a lot of food, and it takes lots of funds to keep the thing in operation."

The judge also ordered Tatman to repay the money she stole.

"Even when she's in jail, the money that comes in (to her), we're to get a portion of that," Swogger said. "We want to get back as much as possible."

The Dispatch reported Tatman's family members gasped as Marbley read the sentence. But she showed little remorse except to say she was sorry.

Marbley said Tatman's actions were "fueled by greed" and hurt poor families because the pantry ran out of money to help them.