BY MICHAEL WALTON
TRAVERSE CITY — Joshua Lee Doherty recently spent his birthday in jail, and he’s going to spend another one there, too, after being sentenced for embezzling money from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.
Doherty was sentenced Friday to a minimum of 23 months in prison by 13th Circuit Judge Philip E. Rodgers. Doherty previously pleaded guilty to a felony count of embezzlement between $1,000 and $20,000 from a nonprofit or charitable organization.
“Today you are going to reap the harvest of your bad choices,” Rodgers said.
Police arrested Doherty earlier this year for embezzling about $5,000 while working as manager of the store on Woodmere Avenue.
Rodgers said Doherty’s lifelong criminal history of embezzlement and fraud was more troubling.
“As embezzlers go who have a lifetime of offenses, you are in my top 10,” Rodgers said.
Doherty has been convicted of felony crimes 11 times, Rodgers said.
His past convictions include three felony counts of attempted forgery and three felony counts of attempted uttering and publishing in 2002, court records show. He had another attempted uttering and publishing conviction in 1994 and a larceny conviction the same year.
Gerald Chefalo, Doherty’s attorney, suggested a gambling problem caused his client’s ongoing behavior of “embezzlement, fraud and deception.”
Doherty said Friday he did not know why he continued to repeatedly break the law.
“I need some help, your honor,” he said. “That’s the long and the short of it.”
Rodgers assigned Doherty a restitution payment of almost $5,200 in addition to his 23-month minimum sentence. Doherty will receive credit for 54 days of time-served.