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Serial offender pleads no contest to embezzling $250,000 from two Roanoke County businesses

Serial offender pleads no contest to embezzling $250,000 from two Roanoke County businesses

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A woman on probation for embezzling half a million dollars from an employer pleaded no contest to additional embezzlement and money laundering charges Tuesday in Roanoke County Circuit Court.

Melissa Rowe Dillon, 53, was accused of stealing nearly $250,000 from her employers over a seven year period. Dillon worked as an office manager for a Roanoke County landscaping company and a pest control company. The two businesses split her salary.

Over the years, Dillon increased the amount of her health insurance benefit without permission and received overtime pay for hours she did not work, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Ashley Sweet said.

Dillon also used company credit cards for personal purchases, including salon trips, event tickets and vacations. She would later change the records of the two company’s accounting logs to hide the transactions, Sweet said.

Dillon faced 17 counts of embezzlement, two counts of money laundering and one count of credit card theft. As part of a plea agreement, all but nine counts of embezzlement and one count of money laundering were dismissed. Dillon is scheduled to be sentenced in September.

Local court records and news archives show this is the second time that Dillon has faced allegations of embezzlement.

In 2008, after pleading guilty to three counts in Roanoke, she was sentenced to a year in jail. In that case, she was charged with taking more than half a million dollars from Meridium, a software company where she worked as a longtime bookkeeper.

The money was siphoned away in small increments over years by forging checks, officials said.

According to news archives and online court records, Dillon’s mother, Lola Taylor Rowe, also pleaded guilty to multiple counts of embezzlement in 2008. She was accused of embezzling about $50,000 from three Catawba churches where she volunteered as treasurer.

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Alison Graham covers Roanoke County and Salem news. She’s originally from Indianapolis and a graduate of Indiana University.

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