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Ky. woman admits to stealing from McSweeney’s

The sentence could have been much worse for a woman charged with stealing more than $45,000 from her former employer.

Wednesday in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court, Selma Dean, 51, of 216 W. Forestdale Road, Ashland, Ky., pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a charge that carries up to eight years in prison.

Dean, a former accounting employee at McSweeney’s Inc. in South Point, escaped prison time due to a negotiated plea agreement. A count of fourth-degree theft was also dismissed in the plea agreement.

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Brigham Anderson said the owners of McSweeney’s didn’t want Dean to serve prison time and that the woman had no prior criminal record.

“She is getting a second chance, but she is going to have to pay the money back,” Anderson said.

Judge W. Richard Walton sentenced Dean to four years community controlled sanctions under intensive supervised probation and ordered that she pay restitution in the amount of $46,006.66 to McSweeney’s by Jan. 31.

If Dean violates her CCS conditions or fails to repay the money, she could go to prison for six years.

According the indictment, the thefts from McSweeney’s occurred over a five-year period from June 2007 to June of this year.

A report from the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office stated Dean was an accounting employee at McSweeney’s and was responsible for printing off some payroll checks and checks to be distributed to various charities.

According to the report, the vice president of the company, Sandra Blackburn, discovered that Dean printed checks and entered them into the computer system as being distributed to the charities, but were actually written to Dean. Dean also wrote herself extra payroll checks.

According to the report, Dean was confronted by the company about the allegation and her employment was terminated.