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Embezzler receives 13-month sentence

by: Submitted Photo - Camie Coons

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   A former bookkeeper for G&M Flooring of Madras, Camie Coons, 39, was sentenced Nov. 12, to 13 months in prison for embezzling from her former employer.
   On Oct. 25, Coons pleaded guilty to first-degree theft for forging a check for $1,800 to her home mortgage company.
   Business owner Gerry Riddle discovered the theft Sept. 15, when he was searching through a trash can for a receipt for materials he believed to be missing from his business. Instead, he discovered a check, made out to a mortgage company, which had been torn in half and thrown away.
   When he checked the computer files, he found that the check had been entered as a payment to a carpet company.
   Riddle felt particularly betrayed by the theft since he had hired Coons after she had been fired just over a year ago from her position as the office manager for the Madras-Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, where she had embezzled over $48,000.
   In August, Coons pleaded guilty to stealing $48,729.28 from the chamber during the four years she worked there, and $7,500 from Jefferson County Little League, while she was treasurer of the organization, during the same time period.
   Circuit Court Judge Gary S. Thompson sentenced Coons to 180 days in the Jefferson County Correctional Facility, five years of probation, and restitution of over $56,000 to the two groups.
   The G&M Flooring theft was discovered two weeks before Coons was scheduled to begin serving her sentence on the embezzlement charges on Sept. 30.
   Had the new theft taken place after her sentencing on Aug. 17, Coons would have been guilty of violating her probation, and could have been sentenced to 71 months in prison.
   Because the check to the mortgage company was dated July 28 -- before her first sentencing -- the court determined that there was no probation violation.
   Coons cried throughout the sentencing hearing, but her attorney, Jennifer Kimble, read a letter she had written apologizing for her behavior, and assuring restitution.
   Kimble asked for Coon's new sentence to be concurrent with, rather than consecutive to, the 180-day sentence for the earlier crimes.
   Prior to handing down the sentence, Thompson asked Coons if she had anything to say. "I said what I want to say in my letter, sir," she said.
   A second-time property crime conviction usually results in two to five years in the state penitentiary system, Thompson pointed out. "Thirteen months is small potatoes in comparison to that," he said.
   Thompson told Coons that he hopes she learns to live within her means. "You can't continually take other people's property," he added.
   He sentenced her to 13 months in a state penitentiary, with credit for time served since she was arrested on Sept. 16. When that sentence is served, she will be returned to the county jail to serve the 180-day sentence from the previous charges.
   Three months after she is released from jail, Coons must begin paying the $1,800 in restitution to Gerry Riddle, the owner of G&M Flooring, and the $56,000 to the chamber of commerce and Little League.
   Thompson granted Coons two more days of furlow last weekend -- from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. --to finish packing up her house. Her former husband supervised the furlow.
   She will be transferred in the next week or so to the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville.