KENNEWICK -- The former office manager for a Richland web software creator who embezzled $14,500 reportedly was stressed about paying her own bills and putting food on the table when she used the company card.
Lisa Louise McGaughey, 31, pleaded guilty Thursday in Benton County Superior Court to second-degree theft. Sentencing is set for Aug. 2.
The victim, &yet, didn't want to pursue criminal charges against McGaughey. But because of the business' financial loss, the matter had to be reported to its insurance company, which then contacted Richland police, according to Deputy Prosecutor Anita Petra.
McGaughey worked for &yet, and had access to the company's checking and savings accounts via a debit card, when the theft occurred between Sept. 12 and Dec. 12, 2011.
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During that time, she kept $1,696.45 in cash back from legitimate purchases, instead of returning it to her employer, court documents said. She also made $1,960 in unauthorized checking withdrawals and $10,869 in unauthorized savings withdrawals from the company accounts, documents said.
McGaughey of Richland was fired after the theft was discovered Dec. 12. The total amount taken was $14,525.45.
She initially was charged with first-degree theft, but Petra agreed to reduce it through plea negotiations, "given the wishes of the victim and the defendant's lack of felony criminal history."
While McGaughey was the office manager, "she was experiencing great emotional and financial strain," Petra wrote in a court document explaining the amendment. "As a result of this, she used the company ATM card and withdrew money to pay for her personal bills and food."
The deputy prosecutor also informed the court that the victim has forgiven McGaughey and is not seeking any restitution. The insurance company for &yet is asking for $5,000, she said.
"Given the facts and circumstances in this matter, the state believes this resolution will hold the defendant accountable and is a proper resolution," Petra said.
The standard range for second-degree theft, with McGaughey's lack of felony history, is no time up to two months behind bars.
Prosecutors will recommend a 30-day jail term with no objection to work crew or work release, but also warned that the plea agreement will be withdrawn if McGaughey doesn't have at least $1,000 by then to reimburse the insurance company.
-- Kristin M. Kraemer: 509-582-1531; email@example.com