Woman sentenced to six months for embezzling almost $27,600

Posted: Friday, January 30, 2004

A 61-year-old woman was ordered this week to spend six months in jail after pleading guilty to second-degree theft from a local construction company.

Sharon K. Crowe was suspected of forging checks while working as a bookkeeper at Champion Builders, according to court records. Police investigators determined the company's loss was $27,597.41.

Juneau Superior Court Judge Patricia Collins rejected sentencing terms first proposed by attorneys in a plea agreement. The judge said the terms called for less punishment than Crowe received after she embezzled less money from the University of Alaska about a decade ago, according to court records.

Collins sentenced Crowe to 36 months in jail with 30 months suspended. She placed Crowe on probation for 10 years.

As terms of her probation, Crowe will have to work 1,000 hours of community service. She will not be allowed to have any checks in her possession except for payroll or business checks payable to her, and she will be required to report any purchase exceeding $500 to her probation officer.

Restitution was left to be determined at a later date. Although most of the money had been returned to the company, owners said they believed Crowe still owed about $2,000, according to court records.

Defense attorney Daniel Wayne argued that Crowe was driven by a compulsion that should be considered a reason for leniency, according to court records.

Anthony Mander, a local clinical psychologist, testified before Monday's sentencing that Crowe was insecure, developed a reward-seeking personality and was sensitive to rejection.

Court records show he testified that Crowe ran into money problems and stole from her employer to avoid disapproval or rejection from her husband. He said Crowe does not have a criminal personality.

The original plea agreement called for four months of unsuspended jail time and 120 hours of community service to be completed during her three-year probation.

In the earlier case, in which she pleaded no-contest in April 1993 to second-degree forgery, Crowe was sentenced to one year in jail with all suspended, placed on probation for five years and ordered to work 180 hours of community service.

• Tony Carroll can be reached at tony.carroll@juneauempire.com.

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