Calling her a thief who “took money from every person in Floyd County” and “violated the trust of the people,” Circuit Judge Marc Long Tuesday sentenced former Floyd County Assistant Treasurer Kristie Dawn Turman to five years on felonies and 12 months on misdemeanors in prison for embezzling taxpayer funds from the county.
“What you did was intentional,” Long told Turman in sentencing. “You took $37,000, and that is a lot of money in Floyd County.”
Turman entered guilty pleas to six felony embezzlement charges and six misdemeanor charges of computer trespass in July after internal audits turned up her thefts in the county treasurer’s office.
In addition to her five years and 12 months behind bars, she faces a suspended sentence of 25 years on the six felonies and 60 months of concurrent time on the misdemeanors after her release from prison. She also faces five years of probation.
In testimony Tuesday, she said “family monetary problems” stemming from health and medical issues were the reasons she took the money.
Floyd County Treasurer Melissa M. Keith discovered the embezzlement and the county brought in the Virginia State Police, who found thefts from 2010 through August of 2014.
Investigators said she diverted funds, manipulated computer records and changed donation information from county taxpayers to help siphon off funds. Investigators said Turman altered taxpayer information as part of the scheme.
Special prosecutor Patrick Nix, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney of Franklin County, asked why she didn’t use insurance or contact family members for help.
“I always had the intent to pay the money back,” Turman said.
Nix asked: “You knew you could not pay the money back, didn’t you?”
Turman sat silent on the witness stand, so Nix asked her if she heard the question. She said “yes” but still did not answer.
After a short wait, Nix told the judge, “I am finished with her. I have no more questions.”
Earlier, Turman told the court she has a new full-time job as a clerk for Wall & Associates and counsels people on financial matters and tax matters. Nix wanted to know if she handled money as part of her job. She said “no.”
In his summation, Nix asked Long to structure probation for Turman to forbid her from having any job that involved handling money, saying she “not have her hand on money.”
Defense Attorney Suzanna Bowen called Turman a “woman with a bad situation.”
Bowen said Turman had made some payments on restitution of the $37,000.
“She will make the payments,” Bowen said. “She will continue to make the payments.”
Long said payments would have to wait until Turman is released from prison and what she still owes will be determined after that release.
“I do want a payment plan,” he said.
The sentence, Long said, “is part punishment and part a message to others.”
Turman was free on bond when she came to court on Tuesday. She left the courtroom escorted by sheriff’s deputies to begin her processing for an immediate prison sentence.