A Blaine County resident has been sentenced to 10 years of probation along with 180 days in jail to be served over the 10-year period after pleading guilty to felony grand theft for embezzling more than $23,000 in less than a year from her employer.
Kristin Jensen, 39, will spend the next decade repaying $23,700.65 to her former employer, the owner of a property management company in the Wood River Valley. Charges were filed in March and Jensen was brought into court on a summons in May. According to prosecuting attorney Matt Fredback, this case was particularly difficult to handle because of Jensen’s medical conditions.
In February, Jensen received an organ transplant and has since faced additional life-threatening medical hurdles that have left her on more than a dozen medications and a series of doctor appointments to manage her conditions. Fredback said his office intentionally waited until after she had the transplant to file charges and begin seeking restitution for the small-business owner.
During a sentencing hearing on Dec. 3, Fredback revealed the details of the case that ultimately led to the guilty plea being entered in September.
According to the criminal complaint, between July 2018 and February 2019, Jensen used the company credit card more than 90 times for unauthorized transactions. Jensen admitted during the sentencing hearing that she had a severe gambling addiction and her attorney argued that she had used the company credit card to pay her bills and keep herself afloat while at the same time feeding a growing gambling problem.
“Almost immediately after being hired there, the thefts began,” Fredback told the court on Dec. 3.
Fredback said Jensen sold herself as a trusted and valued employee and immediately began lying and stealing from the small business last year. Ultimately, Jensen left the company in February after facing medical issues and eventually having an organ transplant later that month. It wasn’t until after she had left that an accountant for the company discovered the charges and discrepancies in the company’s bank account, Fredback said.
“I know I have a bad problem that I have been unable to stop on my own,” Jensen told the court prior to sentencing.
Due to her medical conditions, Jensen has the full duration of her 10 years of probation to pay back the money she embezzled and to serve 180 days in jail along with completing 100 hours of community service.