Former city treasurer pleads guilty to stealing city money

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PROVO -- The former treasurer of Mapleton City pleaded guilty to theft Thursday. Jeanie Bell admitted to stealing thousands of dollars worth of city property and then selling it on eBay.

The case was put on hold last fall after Bell disappeared for a couple of weeks. She was later tracked down and arrested in Las Vegas.

Bell was charged with theft after it was discovered she was taking stamps and gift cards, meant as bonuses for city employees, and selling them on eBay. Prosecutors say she pocketed close to $30,000 over a two-year period.

As part of the plea deal, Bell pleaded guilty to the felony charge; and if she pays the city back $25,000 by the time she is sentenced, the city will forgive the remaining $4,500 of restitution. Bell will also pay back $8,000 in auditing fees the city had to pay to determine the extent of the theft.

"The No. 1 concern here is making Mapleton City whole again, and its citizens who have been without this money for several years now as it has been slowly drained away and funneled away by her embezzlement -- especially during these trying economic times, it's certainly a concern," said Utah County prosecutor Craig Johnson.

Bell spent several weeks in both the Clark County jail in Las Vegas and then the Utah County Jail after a warrant was issued for her arrest when she failed to show up in court in November. In addition to the restitution, Bell also could face jail or prison time when she is sentenced on May 6.



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