August 26, 1997 in Idaho

Ex-Schools Chief Sentenced In Theft

From Staff And Wire Reports

Former Parma School District superintendent Judith Nielson was sentenced to four months in federal prison and four months of home detention for diverting school money to personal bank accounts.

U.S. District Judge Lynn Winmill ordered Nielson on Monday to surrender Sept. 24 and begin serving her prison term. Winmill also fined her $2,000 and ordered her to pay about $20,000 in restitution to the Parma School District, some of which already has been paid.

Nielson, 50, resigned in September 1996 and pleaded guilty in April to one count of theft. Court records indicate Nielson transferred about $24,000 in school money to personal bank accounts and used a district desk and computer to furnish a private office.

The Parma native, who was hired as school superintendent in 1993, faced up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

But Deputy U.S. Attorney Celeste Miller said because of various factors under federal sentencing guidelines, Nielson faced between six and 12 months of detention. She was sentenced to eight.

Miller said electronic monitoring will be used during Nielson’s home detention. And as part of a plea agreement she surrendered her Idaho teaching certification.

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