A former Lucedale resident had a deal to avoid a felony record for embezzling thousands from her former employer, but she blew the deal when authorities arrested her in Lamar County on a charge of felony shoplifting.
In September, Katelynn Danielle Jones, 23, had been placed in a pre-trial diversion program for three years after admitting she embezzled $7,189 from Four Mile Truck Stop between July 2 and Aug. 30, 2013. All she had to do was stay out of trouble for three years, abide by all state and federal laws, pay restitution to the victim and pay other fines and court costs, to move on with her life without any felony on her record.
After her arrest on a felony shoplifting charge earlier this year, she was dropped from the pre-trial diversion program and faced prosecution on a felony embezzlement charge in the theft of funds from the truck stop.
On Thursday, Circuit Judge Kathy King Jackson sentenced her to 10 years in prison, suspending the prison term and placing her on 10 years of post-release supervision. In addition, the judge fined her $1,500 and ordered her to pay full restitution to the store.
The judge asked Jones if she was “just a thief or stupid?”
Jones said “greed” led her to embezzle the money from the store as well as her desire for prescription drugs, such as the muscle relaxer, Soma. She said she no longer uses drugs.
Jones said she hid what she was doing when she embezzled the money by ringing up a false transaction, voiding it out and pocketing the cash. She said she was taking an average of $200 a day from the store.
“If you steal anything else, you are going to the penitentiary,” Jackson said.
After her sentencing, Jones was taken back to the Lamar County jail to face the shoplifting charge there.