Read this Orlando Sentinel story and see if you come up with the same questions I do-
A bookkeeper who stole more than $250,000 from an Altamonte Springs piano store avoided prison Thursday when she promised a judge she would repay the money.
Karen Elizabeth Craig took the first step toward making restitution by handing over a check for $100,000 to the owners of Steinway Piano Galleries. She must repay another $160,765 during the next 15 years. She gave no explanation in court about where the $100,000 came from.
Craig, 36, faced up to 30 years in prison if convicted of first-degree grand theft, the charge for stealing more than $100,000. In a deal with prosecutors, she pleaded guilty to second-degree grand theft.
Craig will be on probation for the next 15 years, but Seminole Circuit Judge O.H. Eaton Jr. withheld adjudication because it is her first felony conviction.
Craig was working as a bookkeeper and office manager at the store owned by Gary and Kathy Grimes when she took the money between August 2003 and July 2004. When Craig went on vacation in summer 2004, Kathy Grimes filled in for her. She discovered that a $6,222 cash deposit never made it to the bank and was covered up in the books.
Craig was fired, and at first the Grimeses didn't plan to prosecute or seek repayment. But as Kathy Grimes kept combing through the books, she found evidence of theft totaling more than $200,000.
An investigation showed Craig used company checks to divert money into her personal bank accounts or to pay personal bills. Police said she bought at least two vehicles with the store's money.
Craig was quiet-spoken as she answered Eaton's questions and assured him she could repay the money. Repaying, Eaton told her, "is the only way to avoid jail time." Craig agreed to a provision that she cannot claim any reasons for being unable to repay the money, including bankruptcy.
Even if Craig repays the stolen money, Gary Grimes said he is out about $450,000 in attorney fees. He said he would try to recoup that money in civil court, where he has filed suit against Craig.
Are you done? Here we go
1- Why did Judge Eaton withhold adjuducation without first learning where the $100,000 came from?
2- Why did the Grimes never keep tabs on Ms. Craig? They are at fault for what happened for they never put in the simplest financial safeguards. I read stories like this all the time and you just shake your head at how naive or careless some people can be in either govt. or private industry.
3- How did the Grimes manange to tally up $450,000 in legal fees for what Ms. Craig did? If money is embezzled, you report it to the police. At $300 an hour for an attorney, this means some 1500 billable hours.
This story is very weird. Of course I'm just going by what is reported in the news article. Some of this can possibly be explained away. What do you think?
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