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Connell official charged in theft from Mesa farm

Prosecutors filed charges Wednesday afternoon against Connell's mayor pro tem for allegedly siphoning off at least $160,000 from a Mesa farm in her job as a bookkeeper.

Councilwoman Monica Lou Pruett is charged in Franklin County Superior Court with first-degree theft and money laundering, both felonies.

Both charges allege aggravating circumstances that the crime involved: a financial loss greater than is typical for the offense; multiple incidents; and the defendant using her position of trust and fiduciary responsibility.

Pruett, 59, is scheduled to enter a plea Tuesday.

She was released about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday from the Franklin County jail after posting a $5,000 bond.

Pruett was arrested Sunday by Franklin County sheriff's detectives after a more than three-month investigation turned up details of the theft at D&S Farms, according to court documents.

Detectives were brought in when owner Bill Swenson found that his farm owed about $100,000 to a Yakima company. Swenson reportedly had been looking into the farm's books and discovered extra checks in varying amounts have been paid to Pruett's business each month that had not been included in the monthly report, documents said.

Pruett provided bookkeeping and accounting services through her business, and was paid $200 a month by the farm.

The theft allegedly happened between June 2005 and April 2012. Swenson claims Pruett used D&S Farm checks to pay her personal property taxes and Franklin PUD bills, documents stated.

-- Kristin M. Kraemer: 582-1531; kkraemer@tricityherald.com

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