Woman gets year for embezzlement

A 39-year-old Gardnerville Ranchos woman who admitted embezzling $400,000 from a Minden manufacturing firm was ordered Tuesday to serve one year in Douglas County Jail and to make restitution at $1,000 a month.

District Judge Dave Gamble suspended a six-year prison sentence and placed Marlo Weatherbee on five years probation.

"Words cannot express how sorry I am for what I've done and to the people I've hurt," Weatherbee said.

"I take full responsibility for what I've done. I want the opportunity to make it right. I am sorry for the people I've hurt."

Weatherbee was an accounting assistant for Metalast International LLC, a company that develops metal finishes and aluminum anodizing. Shortly after she went to work in 1996, she began forging checks, a pattern she continued until February 2005.

Despite her allegation at the time of her arrest in August that she was mistreated by her supervisors, Metalast Chief Executive Officer David Semas said Weatherbee was treated like family.

"This is a person who enriched her life by stealing something that didn't belong to her, not once, not twice, but more than 200 times," Semas told the judge.

"She continues to not accept the responsibility for her fraudulent actions and the heartache she inflicted on fellow employees," he said.

Semas said Weatherbee's crime could have caused the company to fail and its employees to lose their jobs.

He said she was hired at $26,000 a year. By the time she left, Weatherbee was earning $50,000 plus benefits, vacation, education credits and paid holidays which totaled $75,000 a year.

Weatherbee's lawyer John Routsis said his client suffered from emotional problems brought on by low self-esteem, the death of her parents and her bout with cancer.

Weatherbee is the former chairman of the Douglas County Relay for Life.

"This is a limited situation," Routsis said, "It wasn't sophisticated at all. She made the checks out to herself over seven years."

She has no prior record.

Gamble said he was having trouble with what he called Weatherbee's "blame shifting against Metalast, to her cancer, her depression, her addiction to shopping."

"People succeed when they recognize it's no one's fault but their own," Gamble said. "In Ms. Weatherbee I see tacit acknowledgment along with this drama."

Routsis said Weatherbee's willingness to turn her family's house over to the company and to work two jobs showed her sincerity.

So far, she has reduced the debt by $170,000 with the sale of her house.

Prosecutor Mark Jackson said the Weatherbees purchased the house in 2003 and it's possible her crime helped pay for it, or provided living expenses for her family.

Jackson said the number of times Weatherbee wrote checks to herself totaled one full year of employment.

"It wasn't one bad moment," Jackson said. "It was more 254 separate acts of embezzlement over six years. She spent more than one entire year stealing from her employer."

If Weatherbee violates her probation, she faces up to six years in Nevada State Prison.

She is subject to random search and seizure for controlled substances and credit cards.

Gamble told Weatherbee she is not allowed to possess a credit card during probation.

When she is released from jail, Weatherbee is to pay $269,607.07 restitution at $1,000 a month.


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