SALT LAKE CITY — A former Tabiona clerk wiped tears from her eyes Thursday as she pleaded guilty in federal court to charges stemming from her embezzlement of an estimated $200,000 from the town's coffers.
Angela Betty Curry, 36, pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. As part of the plea agreement, she was ordered to pay more than $184,000 in restitution to the town.
Prosecutors say Curry worked part-time for the Duchesne County town of Tabiona from February 2006 though August 2010. She was paid around $650 a month and issued checks to be approved and signed by the mayor.
Starting in April 2006, she began issuing checks to herself in amounts ranging from $60 to $5,500. Prosecutors say well over 100 checks were forged and entered onto the town's ledger as "phantom expenses," purportedly paid to various counties and businesses.
"She admitted that none of the checks were issued for any services performed for the town and that she was not entitled to any of the money," a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office reads.
Curry's attorney, David Maddox, said he believes the money was used to cover living expenses, not for any extravagant purchases. While his client is "very remorseful," he said she "doesn't understand why she did what she did."
He also said he feels the government is trying to make an example of his client.
"Every once in a while they decide to make an example of people," he said. "I understand the state has a need to make sure the message is sent out, therefore they have to treat her more harshly."
Curry was arrested and charged in 8th District Court with 15 counts of theft and 15 counts of forgery. The charges are all third-degree felonies. Once federal prosecutors indicted Curry, state prosecutors dismissed their case.