GOODING — A Jerome woman who pleaded guilty in November to grand theft for taking more than $660,000 from a dairy was sentenced Tuesday.
Stephanie Wells, 35, will spend a minimum of three years — and up to 14 years — in prison for stealing $664,292.10 from Box Canyon Dairy in Gooding County, according to court documents filed Wednesday. Senior District Judge John K. Butler also ordered Wells to pay restitution in the same amount to her former employers.
Wells was charged in April with 19 counts of grand theft. She pleaded not guilty to all counts at that time.
In November, Wells pleaded guilty to five counts. The other 14 counts were dismissed in a plea agreement.
“I took a Box Canyon Dairy check to pay a personal credit card,” Wells told Fifth District Judge Rosemary Emory.
The maximum sentence for each count of grand theft is 14 years in prison and a $50,000 fine, Emory said at the time. The plea agreement provided an open recommendation on sentencing, with possible probation.
Wells was hired by Box Canyon Dairy as chief financial officer and internal accountant in 2012, according to court documents. She resigned in January as the dairy was closing its operation. Wells was charged after an investigation showed she had written checks to pay credit card bills and falsified payments for a loan she had with the company.
Wells and her husband, Dustin Wells, face a civil lawsuit brought by Box Canyon Dairy in Jerome County in an attempt to recover the funds. Dustin Wells filed a bankruptcy petition in May, according to court records.
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