St. Louis woman admits stealing $19,000 from cop charities, faces 20 years

A 53-year-old St. Louis woman pleaded guilty Wednesday to stealing nearly $19,000 intended to benefit the families of police, firefighters and deputy marshals killed in the line of duty.

Pamela Denise Robtoy appeared subdued when she walked to the lectern, speaking so softly that U.S. District Judge David R. Herndon asked her to speak up, as she pleaded guilty to embezzling money from a charity golf tournament intended to benefit BackStoppers and the U.S. Marshal’s Survivor’s Benefits Fund.

She now faces 20 years in federal prison, three years of supervised release, up to $250,000 in fines for each of two felony counts and mandatory restitution of nearly $19,000. She pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud.

She told Herndon she was taking anti-depressant medication and some medicine for her cholesterol. But, she said she understood everything about the plea agreement that she reached with federal prosecutor Norm Smith. Her attorney was Michael Ghidani of St. Louis.

Robtoy was indicted on three counts: embezzlement, wire fraud and making false statements to federal agents. The latter charge was later dropped.

Robtoy handled the collection of funds for the golf tournament held Oct. 11, 2013. From July 2013 through May 2014, Robtoy stole money from the benefit fund “for personal expenses and she transferred funds from the account into her personal account,” according to the government’s stipulation of facts.

Robtoy received money through the mail the third annual John Perry Golf Benefit and used the money to buy things for herself. And to continue her scheme without getting caught, she sent an email via the Internet to a deputy U.S. marshal who was asking about the status of the money she collected and inquiring whether the checks she had received had cleared. She lied to the deputy marshal and said the checks had been issued but a stop payment was put on the checks.

When the checks did not clear, Robtoy falsely told the deputy marshal that they had been reissued on April 23, 2014. Then, on July 2, 2014, in Belleville, during an interview with a U.S. postal inspector that she “started stealing money from the John Perry Benefit account in November 2013. That statement was false because Robtoy had started stealing money from the account as soon as the account was created in July 2013, the indictment stated.

The U.S. Marshal’s Survivors Benefit Fund is a private nonprofit corporation formed exclusively for charitable and educational disbursements of funds to the surviving family members of the U.S. Marshal’s Service killed in the line of duty. BackStoppers is a St. Louis-based organization that provides financial and other assistance to families of deceased police officers, firefighters and publicly funded paramedics or EMTs on both sides of the river who are killed in the line of duty.

Contact reporter Carolyn P. Smith at 618-239-2503.