GOOCHLAND, VA (WWBT) - Former Goochland County Treasurer Brenda Grubbs is in jail tonight. Late today, a judge sentenced her to 4 years in prison after she sent thousands of taxpayer dollars to a scam artist in Nigeria.
This case has dragged on for nearly a year. Brenda Grubbs is now behind bars tonight and now many people here in Goochland County say they're ready to move on.
Brenda Grubbs was in tears as sheriff's deputies took her away in handcuffs. It's a sight many people in Goochland County have been waiting to see. The public was outraged after learning Grubbs spent $180,000 in taxpayer money to a love interest in Nigeria. Ann James lives in Goochland and has gone to all of Grubbs' court hearings.
"I'm pleased. I think the citizens of Goochland will be happy that some action has been taken and it wasn't just a slap on the wrist," said James.
Grubbs will have to pay more than $180,000 in restitution. Her sentencing hearing lasted more than two hours. Grubbs' attorney James Maloney argued she was vulnerable to a scam artist. Her psychiatrist testified that her depression, prescription medication and severe back pain created a perfect storm for someone to be manipulated.
"It is a terrible and unfortunate thing that has happened to the county of Goochland and something that Brenda Grubbs would be the first person to say, shouldn't have happened and she takes full and complete responsibility for it," said Maloney.
But prosecutors say this wasn't a one-time mistake. She made more than 40 transactions - even asking family and coworkers to wire money, telling them it was going toward building schools in Africa. Grubbs also met her fictional love interest on the dating site match.com.
"He referred to her as his wife and she called him 'babe' and I truly believe she was putting a down payment on a different future for herself and she used the people of Goochland's money to do that," said Special Prosecutor Jeff Haislip.
Grubbs' attorney says she's already paid more than $60,000 in restitution. Her husband says they have no savings and no money for a retirement.