Victims not satisfied with former probate court clerk's sentence

Victims not satisfied with former probate court clerk's sentence

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Victims are speaking out after the former Chatham County Probate Court Clerk Kim Birge was sentenced to six years in federal prison for embezzling more than $700,000 from the probate court's bank account.

Most of the money was from trust funds for children, some of whose parents were victims in the Imperial Sugar Refinery Explosion.

"It's unfair, it's really unfair," said Latesha Habersham-McCombs.

Latesha Habersham-McCombs says she and her children were hoping to finally get some closure this week because former Chatham County Probate Clerk Kim Birge was being sentenced for mail and federal fraud.

Money that was supposed to be a glimpse of hope for children who had already lived through tragedies like the Imperial Sugar Refinery Explosion in 2008. Nearly $40,000 was set aside for Habersham-McComb's children when their father and her husband was killed.

"After dealing with the loss of a spouse, a father, a friend, cousin, uncle. How could you even think that was ok?" said Habersham-McCombs.

Other families like Machelle Moore whose nephew lost his mother in a different incident says she's very frustrated that Birge was not given the maximum sentence.

"She only gets six years and you have these kids who lost a parent and that's a lifetime. That's something that you can't get back and so I don't think six years is enough," said Moore.

And while Birge will be required to pay restitution, many families aren't sure whether they'll ever see their trust fund money. But some say at the very least, she should apologize.

"I think that would be the best thing that she could do," said Habersham-McCombs.

With the charges that Birge was facing, she could have been sentenced to a maximum of twenty years in prison.

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