Farmers Insurance Employee Gets 180 days in jail

A Bayport woman who admitted to stealing $132,000 from her Stillwater employer has been sentenced to 180 days in jail, plus restitution and 20 years probation.

Carol Greethurst, 52, was sentenced by Judge Mary E. Hannon March 26. Insurance covered a portion of the loss, and Greethurst is required to pay $127,000 in restitution. If she successfully completes probation, the felony will be reduced to a misdemeanor on her record.

The sentence represents the maximum penalty Greethurst could receive under the plea agreement she reached with prosecutors last year. Fred Fink, criminal division chief of the Washington County Attorney’s Office, said the sentencing guidelines called for a probationary sentence based on the circumstances and Greethurst’s history.

On Nov. 17, 2014, Greethurst pleaded guilty to one count of felony theft by swindle of more than $35,000. According to the criminal complaint, Greethurst used her position as accountant at Farmers Insurance on Curve Crest Boulevard to embezzle funds between January 2010 and July 2013.

Kathy Schoenborn-Atkins of Farmers Insurance said she discovered the theft while Greethurst was on vacation around July 4, 2013. Schoenborn-Atkins said Greethurst had worked for the family-owned business more than 10 years. Upon discovery of the alleged thefts, Greethurst was dismissed from the company.

Schoenborn-Atkins said the sentence seemed “kind of a small price to pay” for the difficulty Greethurst caused.

“It was tough for me and my business,” Schoenborn-Atkins said. “I ended up at one point having to lay people off.”

With the theft halted, Schoenborn-Atkins said her business has recovered, and she is pleased the court case is over.

“I’m just relieved that it’s coming to a close so I can move past it,” she said.

According to the criminal complaint against Greethurst, Stillwater police hired a certified national examiner to investigate the claims. Through forensic analysis, the investigator concluded Greethurst had swindled the company by:

• Adding a total of $48,217.24 unauthorized payments to her checks.

• Using false reimbursements through payroll withholding in the amount of $34,316.52.

• Paying $40,601.94 in personal expenses from the company’s bank account.

• Obtaining $7,308.26 from a company line of credit.

• Using company funds to pay for $638.70 in personal auto insurance costs.

Greethurst’s attorney did not return a call for comment.

Source: http://stillwatergazette.com

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