Jail ordered in embezzlement

   SANDPOINT — A former Bonner County woman convicted of embezzling from her employer was given a suspended prison term Thursday and ordered to serve 90 days in jail. A tearful Nicole Jody Lynn Love said she was ashamed of her misconduct and apologized during a sentencing hearing in 1st District Court. “I recognize what I’ve done wrong,” said Love. Love, a 36-year-old who now lives in Newport, Wash., was accused of embezzling from CityServiceValcon, a fuel distributor in Oldtown, in 2010. She used to be an assistant manager at the business.

   Love was charged with grand theft and entered into a pretrial settlement agreement that recommended a suspended prison term of two to five years and three months in jail.

   Bonner County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Shane Greenbank and Love’s defense counsel, Doug Phelps, urged the court to adopt the sentencing recommendations, although Phelps urged against jail time.

   “She has a number of children. One is very young — three months — with some health issues,” Phelps said.

   Other recommended sentencing terms include five years of probation, a condition of which requires her to pay $25,000 in restitution, and 200 hours of community service. The state did not object to a withheld judgment, which can dim out a conviction if Love completes all her court-ordered obligations.

   Judge Steve Verby declined to grant a withheld judgment, although he did mostly hew to the terms of the plea agreement. Instead of 200 hours of community service, Verby imposed 400 hours and required her to complete at least eight hours a month.

   “The prosecution gave you a break,” Verby said of the plea agreement.

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