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Bonners Ferry woman sentenced to 3 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to embezzlement, tax fraud

UPDATED: Wed., Nov. 18, 2020

A 53-year-old Bonners Ferry woman was sentenced Tuesday to 37 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to wire fraud and filing a false tax return following an embezzlement scheme against her former employer.

Jamie Gillette pleaded guilty in October 2019 to two federal criminal counts after investigators with the FBI and IRS alleged she embezzled $305,000 from her former employer, Bendable Bright Light, a manufacturer of illumination products for sewing machines based in Bonners Ferry.

Gillette told investigators she had been authorized by the business’s owners to use company accounts to pay for credit card and other expenses when they could not afford to pay her salary, according to court records.

Gillette filed a tax return that understated her earnings in 2014, investigators alleged, arguing that she owes more than $108,000 in back taxes for the years 2011 through 2015.

Gillette was taken into federal custody in July following a violation of her release conditions not detailed in publicly available court records.

A previous sentencing hearing this summer was rescheduled following a delay caused by court restrictions during the pandemic, according to court records. A second sentencing hearing scheduled for August was also delayed after substitution of counsel.

U.S. District Court Judge David Nye handed down the 37-month sentence, which was requested by prosecutors.

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