Slow restitution results in prison time
A judge Wednesday ordered 12 years in prison for a woman who had been serving another sentence in connection with one of the largest embezzlement prosecutions ever seen in Mesa County.
Amber K. Butler, 36, of Grand Junction, who pleaded guilty last year to allegations she stole more than $600,000 working as a bookkeeper at a local engineering firm, was sentenced last year to serve six years in Mesa County Community Corrections. District Judge Valerie Robison on April 8, 2009, suspended a 12-year prison term on the condition Butler repay $15,000 per year over the length of her sentence in community corrections.
During a one-year progress report Wednesday on Butler’s payments, community corrections officials presented a report showing Butler had repaid just over $10,000, according to Assistant District Attorney Rich Tuttle.
Butler had been fired in December 2009 from a housekeeping job at a local hotel, but she found another job in March and was working three jobs as of Wednesday, Tuttle said.
Prosecutors asked she be sent to prison for 12 years. Robison agreed.
“The judge felt she hadn’t met one of the conditions (paying $15,000 in a year), and found that she had the ability to pay,” Tuttle said.
Butler is still on the hook for $638,716 she stole between 2002 and 2008 from Lindauer & Dunn Inc., 802 Rood Ave., where she worked preparing payroll and buying office supplies.
Authorities have said Butler used a QuickBooks account to create checks payable to herself, purchased personal items on a company credit card and cashed blank checks signed by her bosses for office supplies.
She also regularly had items that she purchased with stolen funds delivered to the office, and she spent thousands of dollars on trips to local grocery stores, baby clothes and elective surgeries, among other items.