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Woman gets prison for embezzling $750,000 from former astronaut

UPDATED: Fri., July 21, 2017, 4:23 p.m.

Apollo 8 astronaut William Anders poses by a print of his famous photograph of the earth rising over the moon's horizon displayed in his Orcas Island, Wash., home, July 19, 1994. He was a pilot on the first manned mission that orbited the moon in December 1968. (SCOTT TERRELL / Associated Press)
Apollo 8 astronaut William Anders poses by a print of his famous photograph of the earth rising over the moon's horizon displayed in his Orcas Island, Wash., home, July 19, 1994. He was a pilot on the first manned mission that orbited the moon in December 1968. (SCOTT TERRELL / Associated Press)

SEATTLE – A former Orcas Island bookkeeper will serve three years in prison after pleading guilty to federal charges for embezzling more than $750,000 from a former NASA astronaut and his wife.

The Justice Department says Sarah Coffelt was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Seattle Thursday to prison and three years of supervised release. She was also ordered to pay restitution of $788,886.

She pleaded guilty to wire fraud. Court documents say retired Air Force Maj. Gen. William Anders and his wife, Valerie, hired Coffelt in 2003 to keep records of their two family businesses.

Under the plea agreement, Coffelt admitted she stole from her employers to cover the costs associated with her own business, an arts and crafts store in Eastsound. She also used the couple’s money to pay for family trips and her mortgage.

Anders served as lunar module pilot aboard Apollo 8, alongside commander Frank Borman and command modul pilot James A. Lovell, Jr. In December 1968 the three were the first astronauts to orbit the Moon.


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