TWIN FALLS • A former College of Southern Idaho employee pleaded guilty Monday to five counts of felony grand theft after stealing money from the college.
Dawn Marie Orr, 41, of Twin Falls, stole $530,556.29 from the college over five years.
During Monday’s hearing, Twin Falls County Fifth District Judge Randy Stoker asked Orr to explain why she was pleading guilty.
“I took funds over $1,000 from my employer, the College of Southern Idaho,” Orr replied.
“Did you have the authority to do so?” Stoker asked.
“No, I didn’t,” Orr said.
A sentencing hearing is slated for 1:30 p.m. May 26, but Stoker said it will likely be pushed back until early June.
CSI spokesman Doug Maughan told the Times-News that the college will wait to comment on the case until after the sentencing.
Each felony count carries a potential penalty of up to 14 years in prison and a $50,000 fine, Stoker said.
Prosecutors are recommending a sentence of five to 14 years in prison, with all counts running concurrently. They also plan to ask for restitution in the case.
Stoker told Orr he hasn’t made a commitment to anyone regarding her sentence. “I don’t know a thing about you.”
In a 10-page guilty plea advisory form, Orr indicates she suffers from mental health issues, Stoker said.
“Is there anything about your condition that affects your ability to understand what you’re doing here today?” he asked.
“No,” Orr replied.
Her attorney, Steven McRae, said potential evidence will come in from Orr’s treatment providers.
According to court records, Orr told college administrators last summer that she stole money and admitted it when she could no longer live with the guilt.
Court records give this account:
On July 31, Orr and a friend entered CSI’s business office and asked to meet with Mike Mason, vice president of administration, and Dean of Finance Jeffrey Harmon. “She said, ‘I took some money from the college, and I have so much guilt that I cannot live with it any longer.’”
Orr — who was Mason’s assistant — said she had a gambling problem. She said she exchanged checks for cash from the safe and overstated third-party billings.
Orr admitted to detectives that she’d taken money since 2007, but several years expired under the statute of limitations.