Embezzler gets prison sentence
A former Truckee resident convicted of embezzling over $30,000 from several area organizations was sentenced to 32 months in state prison on Thursday.
Karin E. Pierce was convicted in February of five felony counts of grand theft and embezzlement from the Soroptimists, Mountain Comfort Furnishings, In Heat and others.
Despite lacking a prior criminal record, Judge C. Anders Holmer said during Thursday’s proceedings he deemed the state prison sentence appropriate due to the “highly sophisticated take” of the funds.
“It was a deliberate effort to take from one victim, then another victim, then another victim,” Holmer said Thursday. “She is a terrible risk to put on the community.”
Holmer initially imposed a 24-month sentence on Pierce, but after hearing arguments made by Nevada County Deputy District Attorney Bill Cornell, Soroptimist President Nancy Davis and the defense attorney’s probation plea, the sentence was increased to 32 months.
The Soroptimists’ discovered the embezzlement in fall 2005 when former president Lauren Shaake leafed through some bank statements and noticed an unauthorized check had been made out to Pierce who had been serving as treasurer for the nonprofit organization at the time.
After auditing the Soroptimists’ records, officials discovered other irregularities totaling $11,000 of embezzled funds.
While Pierce did reimburse the organization approximately $10,000, the transaction did not occur until after she was contacted by authorities, said Nevada County Deputy District Attorney Bill Cornell.
“The biggest factor from the people’s point of view is that she lacks any remorse,” Cornell said. “She is responsible for a substantial amount of harm to this community.”
David Thomas, owner of Truckee-based In-Heat, learned of the embezzlement of nearly $21,000 by Pierce ” who was the company’s bookkeeper ” after an employee at Plumas Bank in Truckee informed him of a suspicious signature on a company check.
Officials tried to determine the exact amount reimbursed to In Heat during Thursday’s sentencing, but an accurate accounting could not be determined due to unrecorded cash transactions.
“It ultimately came down to the fact that there are so many unresolved issues,” Holmer said. “The defendant took advantage of the position of trust.”
Pierce’s defense attorney asked that Pierce ” who now resides in Hollister, Calif. ” be granted a probation sentence due to her restitution efforts, lack of criminal history and fact that embezzlement cases similar in monetary value were not given a state prison sentence.
However, Holmer denied the grant of probation saying it was his job to protect the community and that throughout the trial he felt Pierce had demonstrated an “inflated sense of self-worth, entitlement, arrogance and a lack of ability to identify with the feelings of others.”
“I conclude she lacks any remorse. I conclude she is a danger,” Holmer said before delivering the sentence.
Pierce was ordered to pay over $5,000 in fines and over $3,000 in restitution. She will receive 302 days credit toward her sentence for time in custody and for good conduct, and she plans to file a notice of appeal, Cornell said.
“Everything this woman has done has been inherently dishonest,” Cornell said. “I do think the state prison sentence is appropriate in this case.”
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