Former Arts Council Head Sentenced for Embezzlement

October 12, 2010 Updated Oct 12, 2010 at 1:58 PM EDT

By WKBW Programming

October 12, 2010 Updated Oct 12, 2010 at 1:58 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - The former director of the Buffalo and Erie County Arts Council was sentenced to five years of probation Tuesday for embezzling more than $25,000 from the council.

The Erie County District Attorney began the investigation last January when Lawson was fired from here position with arts council after placing personal charges on a council credit card. Lawson plead guilty to larceny charges in June, but her lawyer says she did not use the money for anything non-work related, such as gambling, which she was originally accused of.

Lawson and her attorney maintain that the matter boils down to a misappropriation of funds and failing to follow art council procedure when spending the money.

The stipulations of the probation say that Lawson will have to pay back the $25,000 and she is ordered not to go to any gambling facilities. Lawson must also complete 200 hours of community service as part of her sentence.