By Andy Sheehan

BRADDOCK (KDKA) — The borough of Braddock has struggled to regain its footing after years of hard times — but got another body blow last year when it’s former borough manager Ella Jones was convicted of embezzling $180,000 of borough funds.

“That money would come in really handy,” Braddock Mayor John Fetterman said. “You think about it in terms of how many police cars that would buy, how much public service equipment that could buy and it really kind of hits home.”

Under the guidelines, Jones could have gotten six to nine months in jail, but Judge Jill Rangos gave her probation and ordered her to pay restitution.

That was over a year ago and thus far Jones has paid the paltry sum of $110.

Mayor John Fetterman says that sends an encouraging message to those inclined to commit a crime.

“Go for it,” he said. “If you get caught, you’re not going to do any jail time, you’re not going to do any community service and you can send in a check $10 a month until it’s all paid off.”

KDKA’s Andy Sheehan went to Jones’ home to ask her why she hasn’t paid much restitution.

“I’m not working so thank you very kindly,” she said.

Her attorney, Phil DiLucente, says she hasn’t been able to find work.

“She has not been able to find gainful employment, but she is willing ready and hopeful to find that employment so that she can make sure she complies with Judge Rangos’ restitution order,” he said.

“If she doesn’t have the money to pay back, why isn’t she doing community service work whether in Braddock or a different community,” Fetterman said. “It’s almost as if we’re being victimized twice unfortunately.”

And of that $110, the town of Braddock has only collected $30 which is more of an insult than a help to town that it trying to climb its way back after years of adversity.

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