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State v. Ms. N (DMC No. 14416)

Ms. N. was employed as an Office Manager for a corporation from 2005 to 2014. She was caught fraudulently distributing 401(k) profit share distribution, which belonged to other employees, into her personal 401(k) account. That amount totaled $6,600. While she was being terminated, she admitted to the Theft. After a complete and thorough accounting was done by the corporation, it was determined that other amounts were also missing. In addition to the 401(k) money, she submitted fraudulent expense reimbursements between 2010 and 2014, which totaled $146,600. Lastly, as for two terminated employee 401(k) amounts, which were misappropriated, these totaled $12,100. Although all losses totaled $158,820, the corporation had to reimburse $165,400 into accounts due to their costs and gains.

We were able to work with the Prosecutor to show extensive mitigation that Ms. N had regarding her life. She was the youngest of two children and experienced a traumatic upbringing. She grew up in significant poverty, and her father was a former Vietnam Marine with PTSD, who was severely alcoholic and was physically and verbally abusive to both her and her mother. She began working at 16 in order to provide for herself and the family. She also was periodically homeless. Eventually, she gave birth to her first daughter when she was 19-years old, and then had three children before she was hired by the corporation.

Her first day on the job, she was a single mother to three and was only being paid $35,000 per year. Shortly after being hired, her mother died, and Ms. N was now responsible to pay all of the funeral costs and other expenses left behind by her mother. Although, none of this is an excuse to steal, it was mitigation. A few months later her father passed away from stage 4 lung cancer approximately one week after this investigation had begun. In addition, her only prior criminal conviction was for a misdemeanor DUI.

Ultimately, the Prosecutor agreed to a plea which included probation with 1 year of prison. Originally, she was facing much higher/longer prison time due to the fact that there were multiple offenses committed on different dates, and the total amount of loss was above $100,000.

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