Bookkeeper embezzles $6.5M from grocery store chain


An employee who almost ruined a small grocery chain in southwest Michigan is returning to court for a sentence for embezzlement.

Christopher Pratt admits he stole more than $6 million from Village Market Food Centers, based in South Haven.

He handled the financial books.

Prosecutors are recommending a sentence at the high end of the guidelines, which could mean five years or more in prison. Pratt is back in Kalamazoo federal court today.

The 42-year-old Portage man had a gambling problem and a love of vintage cars.

He lost more than $250,000 while gambling in 2011 and bought or leased more than 50 cars.

The government says Pratt's crime nearly destroyed Village Market.

The chain survived — but workers were cut along with pay and benefits.

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