Judge Orders Restitution to Cape Girardeau Doctor

MARCH 23, 2006 - Posted at 5:17 p.m. CST

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO - A former office manager for a Cape Girardeau doctor stole nearly $48,000 from her employer, but a circuit judge ordered restitution for just half that amount.

Circuit Judge Benjamin Lewis ruled Wednesday that he could not order Melissa James to pay back more than she is able to Dr. Paul Clarke.

Lewis ordered her to pay $400 per month for the next five years, which is the length of her probation.  That amount may change, depending on her financial status.

In January, the 32-year-old woman pleaded guilty to two counts of obtaining controlled substances by fraud and three counts of forgery.  James admitted to writing three checks from Clarke to herself totaling more than $1,583.