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Lewis sentenced on theft and forgery counts

By RICHARD SHAW
Sun Advocate publisher

Former Price City literacy director Paula Lewis was sentenced by Seventh District Court Judge George Harmond on one second degree county of theft and nine counts of third degree forgery on Tuesday.

Originally Lewis was accused of more than 30 charges involving $50,900 taken from the city library over nearly nine years. However, with a guilty plea entered in December, the majority of the charges were dropped.

Lewis was sentenced to a 1-15 year prison term for the theft charge and 0-5 years per charge on the forgery counts. All were to run concurrently.

However, after sentencing her, the court suspended the prison term and put her on probation under the direction of Adult Probation and Parole for 36 months. Lewis must also do community service time of 400 hours, have a psychological evaluation and take any therapy that results from that evaluation's recommendations. She must also pay full restitution for the money that was taken in the amount of $50,962.37.

However, there will also be some jail time served as she was taken into custody in the courtroom and ordered to spend 20 days in the Carbon County jail.

While there was some confusion about how the assessment could be paid in court, the family offered to work that out and pay all or nearly all of that restitution immediately. In the December the court advised her that she would be waiving many of her rights by pleading guilty. She acknowledged her understanding of the waiver at the time in her statement to the court.

Most of the incidents she was charged with reportedly happened between July 2001 and Feb. 2009. Although most of the 30 original charges were described as involving forged payments and unauthorized control of Price City money, the state no longer needed to prove them after the guilty plea was entered.

The incidents took place over several years, and the Price Police Department was first made aware of the forgeries by city employees.

Investigation of the situation and allegations, then charges, followed.




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