JEROME • A former secretary at A & G Irrigation in Jerome pleaded guilty to two counts of grand theft for writing herself company checks worth thousands of dollars.

Judith Mary Kay Scantlin, 38, of Twin Falls was charged in March with 37 counts of grand theft and accused of stealing $121,500 from the irrigation company by writing herself 37 checks over a 20 month period from January 2012 to August 2013.

Scantlin pleaded guilty to two of the counts in Jerome County District Court last Friday, court records said. She pleaded guilty to writing herself company checks worth $2,000 on Jan. 17, 2012 and $3,000 on Feb. 1, 2012.

As part of a plea deal, Scantlin will either be put on probation or ordered to undergo a therapeutic and educational program directed by the Idaho Department of Corrections, court records said.

Her sentence will be based on the results of a pre-sentence investigation, District Judge John K. Butler said during last Friday’s plea hearing. Scantlin agreed to a prison sentence of two to 10 years, but could avoid that based on her performance in a therapeutic program, commonly known as a “rider.” She could avoid prison altogether if Butler decides to suspend her sentence and instead put her on probation.

Scantlin also agreed to pay a $1,000 fine, while restitution to A & G Irrigation was taken care of in a separate civil case, Butler said in the plea hearing.

Scantlin’s employers went to the Jerome County Sheriff’s Office in August 2013 to report that Scantlin, their secretary of eight years, was embezzling money from them, court records said. They were alerted when another of the company’s secretaries found check stubs made out to Scantlin in the back of a filing cabinet.

With a sheriff’s detective listening in, one of the employers agreed to call Scantlin and confront her, court records said. During the call, Scantlin admitted to her boss she was stealing company money.

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When asked how long she had been stealing, and why she would do it after everything the company did for her, Scantlin told her boss “I don’t have a good answer,” according to court records.

When sheriff’s detectives contacted Scantlin, she told them her employers lent her money for years, but she started taking the money without asking in 2011, court records said. She said she needed the money for attorney fees and debt, and that once she started taking it, “it was then more and more important to have the money.”

According to the original charges, Scantlin wrote herself one to three checks every month for 20 months, and the checks ranged from $1,500 to $5,000, court documents said. The most she took in one month was $11,000 when she wrote herself three checks in January 2013.

Scantlin is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 29.

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