A former city treasurer has pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of first-degree theft for stealing more than $763,000 from public accounts.
In a plea agreement with Daneen “Lynn” May, the Walla Walla County prosecutor’s office has recommended she be sentenced to eight years in prison.
May had been charged with misappropriation and falsification of accounts, which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
The maximum sentence for first-degree theft is 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
Superior Court Judge Yancey Reser accepted May’s plea on Wednesday. Her trial had been scheduled to begin Monday.
The state Department of Corrections will conduct a presentence investigation. A sentencing date will be set after the report is finished in six to eight weeks.
May said Thursday that she wants to repay the money but contends a prison sentence won’t allow her to do that.
The city has recovered a little more than $150,000, including the equity in May’s house, which is for sale, City Attorney Daniel Roach said.
In October, a state auditor’s report showed that $563,035 had been misappropriated between Jan. 1, 1991, and July 12, 1994. It was believed to the largest theft of city funds in the state’s history.
May told investigators that the money had been taken from local improvement district accounts, beginning in 1987.
The city uncovered at least $200,000 more in missing funds during that time, and the charge was changed to reflect the greater amount.