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Sandy woman gets 2 years

A Sandy woman is headed for two years of federal prison for embezzling nearly $1 million from a nursing home for which she worked.

Janet R. Toler, 66, pleaded guilty to money laundering and was sentenced to two years in jail and three years of probation Friday, Jan. 4, in federal court. She also will have to pay back the more than $900,000 she stole from the Reedwood Extended Care Center.

Toler worked as an accounts receivable clerk at Reedwood's administrative offices in Gresham from March 1997 to November 2005. Her job included receiving patient payments, preparing deposit slips and depositing money into the nursing home's checking account.

In February 2001 Toler set up a corporation called Reedwood with its principal place of business listed as her home address in Sandy. She also set up a checking account in her name, which did business as 'Reedwood.' Toler was the only signer on the account.

For more than four years, Toler deposited checks written for the care of elderly nursing home patients into her bank account. Then she manipulated accounting records to hide the stolen money.

Toler used the money to buy a 2001 Ford Expedition, a 2002 Pontiac Bonneville, a utility trailer and two all-terrain vehicles.

'As a result of Toler's embezzlement of the patient payments, Reedwood Extended Care Center suffered significant financial problems, limiting their ability to provide services,' according to the initial indictment filed in October 2006.

Criminal investigators with the Internal Revenue Service and the Gresham Police Department investigated.

Toler originally pleaded not guilty to the charges but eventually made a plea agreement with prosecutors last August.

She could have faced as many as 70 years in prison and a $1.75 million fine, but by pleading guilty, Toler's maximum sentence was 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000, not counting restitution.

As part of the plea agreement, Toler agreed to forfeit two vehicles, a utility trailer, two ATVs and a bank account that has more than $11,000 in it. She agreed to make full restitution in the amount of $927,385.74.

She is to report to an as-yet unselected federal penitentiary Feb. 13.

'Law enforcement will always be there to protect the most vulnerable among us,' said Kenneth J. Hines, IRS special agent in charge of the Pacific Northwest. 'This includes prosecuting people who would steal money needed by both those who operate nursing homes and those who reside in them.'

Dan Wardlaw, a 20-year special agent with the IRS's criminal investigation division, has worked for three years as a spokesman based out of the Seattle field office.

'It's the first one I've ever seen involving a nursing home,' he said of the Reedwood embezzlement case.

Wardlaw says the IRS believes Toler received a just sentence. 'She was ordered to pay the entire fruits of her crime, and on top of that lose two years of freedom.'

Reporter Mara Stine contributed to this report.