Peaceable Farm Owner Enters Alford Plea for Embezzlement

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Anne Shumate Williams, also known as Anne Goland Anne Shumate Williams, also known as Anne Goland
Authorities investigating Peaceable Farm (FILE IMAGE) Authorities investigating Peaceable Farm (FILE IMAGE)

The woman convicted of not caring for dozens of animals at Peaceable Farm in Orange County is now guilty of embezzling from the rescue operation.

Anne Shumate Williams accepted a plea deal on Thursday, December 7, in Orange County Circuit Court, which ties together the embezzlement and animal cruelty cases against her.

All of this stems from a raid on Peaceable Farm in October 2015.

Investigators discovered more than 100 horses, cats, dogs, and other animals were neglected, along with several dead and decomposing animals.

In the plea, Williams agreed to an Alford plea on one count of embezzlement and in return the remaining counts were dropped. An Alford plea means she does not admit guilt, but admits there is enough evidence for a conviction.

Prosecutors said Williams used nearly $128,000 in solicited contributions meant for the horse rescue operation for buying other horses, such as a prized stud, and other breeding items between October 2012 and June 2015.

As part of this plea agreement, Williams will drop her appeal of 18 animal cruelty charges. She was found guilty of 22 misdemeanor animal cruelty charges in Orange County General District Court on November 1. She was sentenced to 18 months behind bars.

A five-year sentence on the embezzlement charge is suspended as long as Williams serves the 18-month sentence she was given in the animal cruelty case. She must also face three years of supervised probation, 10 years of good behavior, and cannot have possession of any companion animals for five years.

She is expected to surrender herself to Central Virginia Regional Jail at 6 p.m. Thursday.