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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

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3/13/2013 8:18:00 PM
Cottonwood woman gets 2.5 years for embezzling $130K from Mount Hope
Linda Carol Summers, 61, was indicted on 25 counts related to the theft. She worked for Mountain Hope Foods on Main Street, and was accused of embezzling the funds between October 2008 and December 2012, according to a probable cause statement written by Cottonwood police.
Linda Carol Summers, 61, was indicted on 25 counts related to the theft. She worked for Mountain Hope Foods on Main Street, and was accused of embezzling the funds between October 2008 and December 2012, according to a probable cause statement written by Cottonwood police.
By Scott Orr
Contributing Reporter

PRESCOTT - A woman who worked for years at Cottonwood's Mount Hope Foods, all the while secretly taking upwards of $100,000, on Tuesday was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison and ordered to pay back the money she stole.

Linda Carol Summers, 61, was indicted on 25 counts related to the theft. She worked for Mountain Hope Foods on Main Street, and was accused of embezzling the funds between October 2008 and December 2012, according to a probable cause statement written by Cottonwood police.

As the store's accountant, Summers would alter checks by adding her name and then make false payments to the store's creditors, the statement said. Initially, the owners believed she had stolen about $49,000 - which was the amount to which she pleaded guilty at an Early Disposition Court hearing - but later, they found she had actually taken closer to $130,000.

In court Tuesday, attorneys said Summers spent the money on herself and her daughters, buying a brand-new SUV, a baby grand piano, and guitars, among other things.

The plea deal nearly fell apart when defense attorney Jeff McNeice disputed the state's interpretation of the wording in it.

The document said Summers would have to pay back "$49,479.65, with an additional amount to be determined by the court, but not to exceed $75,000." McNeice argued that that meant the restitution to be paid would be between $49,000 and $75,000.

Deputy County Attorney Steve Sisneros said that actually meant Summers would be liable for another $75,000 above the $49,000.

Hancock said Summers had agreed to the terms and wondered whether she understood what was meant. She suggested they could "get the transcript and see," but Summers said she understood that Sisneros' interpretation was correct.

Hancock said the details would be worked out at a restitution hearing later.

Summers pleaded guil-ty to one count of theft - $25,000 or more, and four counts of forgery.

She spoke quietly to Hancock, saying, "I am very sorry."

"In many ways, although it may seem like a simple theft of money, in my view, this type of crime requires such a level of planning and deceit carried out over so many years," Hancock said. "You had to get up every day knowing you were going to steal their money."

She sentenced Summers to 2.5 years in prison followed by 7 years' probation, during which she will have to account for her finances to ensure she's paying the money back.

Hancock was unable to set the restitution hearing for sooner than June 11 because McNeice said he couldn't be ready, which means Summers will be held in the Camp Verde jail until then and will begin her prison sentence afterward.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Article comment by: No wonder she is smiling!

Steal $130,000 dollars and get 2 1/2 yrs...get caught with a couple ounces of pot equals 5 years???

Posted: Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Article comment by: Lisa Rhodes

I agree, 2 1/2 years is RIDICULOUS. One thing I've found since moving to Arizona - the 'criminal justice' system is indeed, criminal.

Posted: Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Article comment by: Mav Rick

Babbit
What the hell does the Iron Brotherhood have to do with this case? You must be like you namesake-used to be governor. Anti police. I don't agree with the Iron Brotherhood but your p-ost is stupid!


Posted: Monday, March 18, 2013
Article comment by: David Milne

This case should be referred to the IRS for undeclared income together with associated penalties

Posted: Saturday, March 16, 2013
Article comment by: D Etter

21/2 years in jail, you have got to be kidding me and full restitution of $150,000.00., Mount Hope will never see this money. With good behavior and all the other perks I am sure she will be out sooner. I would consider spending two years in jail for $75,000.00 a year.
This is ridiculous.
This is NOT the example we need to be setting for criminals.


Posted: Friday, March 15, 2013
Article comment by: Bill Jaworski

Another example of someone who doesn't want to work for their money, she thought it was easier to just steal it!
She deserved to get way more time. MT Hope will NEVER see their money again!


Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2013
Article comment by: She will never know

all the damage she has caused in so many ways. I was going to say I wonder if she cares, but I guess if she did she wouldn't of done it in the first place.

Posted: Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Article comment by: Tom Babbitt

"Their" justice no longer matters. All justice post "Iron Brotherhood" is B.S.

Posted: Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Article comment by: If you knew how good Mt. Hope treated

Linda, you'd say she probably deserved more time.

pf




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