A Scottsbluff woman convicted of embezzling from her former employer asked for probation Thursday, citing the needs of her family. A Scotts Bluff County District Judge agreed, sentencing Connie Harpold, 48, to three years of probation on a charge of theft, a Class III felony. She will also serve a 30-day jail sentence.Content retrieved from Scottsbluff woman receives probation sentence – starherald.com: Local News
Scotts Bluff County Attorney Doug Warner had sought a longer sentence of imprisonment on the charge. In his statements to the court, Warner said the thefts from her employer, Gering dentist Mark Schlothauer, occurred over a period of time, though the thefts had been consolidated into one charge.“There are a series of acts … This isn’t a one-time decision someone made and they never made it again,” he said.Harpold tried to conceal her theft, which Warner had put at more than $9,000 during the trial, by making false entries into accounting software of the company. During the trial, Warner said Harpold pocketed cash payments made by patients and noted them on daily records as checks.Jason Ossian, Harpold’s attorney, argued that Harpold had already paid $5,916.70 to the court — the amount that a Scotts Bluff County jury determined Harpold had stolen from Schlothauer. The jury convicted Harpold of the theft charge after a week-long trial in December.Ossian said Harpold “appreciates the nature and the seriousness of the case. She respects the court, the jury and its findings.” However, he never made any apologies on Harpold’s behalf and Harpold didn’t offer any when asked if she had any comment to the court. Judge Leo Dobrovolny said a pre-sentence investigation noted that Harpold had not taken responsibility for the theft.Ossian argued, and Dobrolvony agreed, that Harpold made a good candidate for probation. He said a pre-sentence investigation had assigned her a low-to-moderate rate to re-offend and she had little previous contact with law enforcement.He cited Harpold’s role as a caregiver to her husband, Ivan, her 11-year-old son and her mother as reasons that Harpold should receive probation. Harpold’s husband is currently in the end stages of renal failure and is undergoing dialysis as he awaits a kidney transplant. He suffers from Type II diabetes and a heart condition. Her husband’s doctors submitted letters on her behalf attesting to her care of her husband.In a letter to the court, Harpold’s husband described her as “the glue that hold the family together,” Ossian said.Her mother has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and her doctors also submitted letters about the care that Harpold provides to the 78-year-old woman.Harpold has not been employed since being dismissed from her position February 2010, shortly before the Schlothauers reported the theft to authorities. Ossian noted that Harpold is “a very hard-working women” who will have to deal with the disadvantages of living in a small community while everyone knows she has been convicted of a felony.As one of the conditions of probation, Harpold must find a job within 45 days, Dobrovolny said.
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|Woman found guilty of theft from dental clinic|
|December 23, 2010 Dawn Bowen|