Embezzler gets probation, year in jail | RecordCourier.com

Embezzler gets probation, year in jail

by Sheila Gardner

A 60-year-old former Carson City woman was sentenced Tuesday to probation that includes one year in jail and ordered to repay more than $100,000 she embezzled from a Minden property management company.

As she was being led back to jail, Sandra Kay Hunter turned to the audience and mouthed, “I’m sorry,” to several victims who attended the sentencing.

Hunter pleaded guilty to embezzlement, admitting she stole the money from her former employer, Property Management & Maintenance in Minden, from April 2008 to December 2009.

She has been in custody since she was extradited from Washington state in March.

“Why would I think she will ever pay (restitution)?” asked District Judge Dave Gamble.

“These restitution cases are the most troubling,” he said. “My intent is to make the victims whole even though it often seems hopeless.”

Hunter has a prior felony conviction for embezzling $44,000 which her lawyer Derrick Lopez said she repaid and for which she served no jail time.

Lopez said Hunter agreed with the victims’ request to obtain a life insurance policy naming them as beneficiaries should anything happen to her.

“The victims will have to pay the premiums at first,” Lopez said. “Her intent is to stay local, make payments, work, and join a church.”

He said Hunter also met with the victims to show them how she embezzled the funds to enable the company to set up a safeguard system.

Lopez said his client had undergone a change since her arrest on the second embezzlement.

“She read the victim’s letter. She felt bad,” Lopez said. “She had never put herself in the place of the victim. I’ve seen significant changes. She realized she can’t build her future on the shattered future of someone else.”

One of the victims said he was working 80 hours a week in an effort to recoup the loss.

“These are among the most gracious victims I’ve come across,” Lopez said. “They’re compassionate. They recognize she’s a human being with frailties. She’s not excusing what she was doing. It’s part of a cycle I think she’s broken. We ask that you recognize the changes in her.”

Prosecutor Tom Gregory said there was no perfect sentence in an embezzlement.

“I told the victims that no matter what you (Gamble) do, the case is not over for them,” Gregory said. “If we send her to prison, she’s already done seven months, and how do we pursue restitution?

“If she gets out, she will be closely supervised and prison will still be hanging over her head. It gives her a reason to pay victims back.”

Hunter said she done a lot of “soul searching” since her arrest.

“I just want the opportunity to be able to make a wrong a right,” she said. “It’s not going to be easy to go back in the work place. I’m truly sorry for what I did to them (the victims). I want to help the victims recoup the money I stole from them. I’m truly, truly worry. I’m so full of remorse. It’s taken me a long time of being here (in jail) to forgive myself.”

Gamble sentenced Hunter to 84 months in prison, suspended, and placed her on probation for five years. She must pay $100,487.28 in restitution and spend the first year of probation in Douglas County Jail.

Gamble gave her credit for 211 days in custody.

He also sentenced her to 100 hours of community service unless that interferes with her ability to have two full-time jobs.

Hunter must notify any potential employer of her conviction if she gets a job handling money, Gamble said. Hunter worked at the front desk at the company which manages rental properties and collected rent money. Her employers began reviewing financial records at the end of last year and discovered $83,773.78 missing between April 2008 and December 2009.

The company hired an accountant who found a total of $99,358.78 missing from two accounts.

She had a previous conviction for embezzling $44,000 from a title company.