Woman gets prison for third conviction related to theft from Steamboat employer
October 3, 2014
Steamboat Springs — A 50-year-old former Hayden resident was sentenced Friday to five years in prison for her third conviction related to stealing from an employer.
With the most recent case, Rochelle “Shelly” Flannery pleaded guilty to five counts of felony identity theft. Despite pleading guilty, Flanary stated in a report prepared by the probation department for Friday's sentencing hearing that she still believed the charges were the result of a misunderstanding with her employer, a Steamboat Springs psychologist's office.
"If this was your first time doing this, it might be believable," Judge Shelley Hill told her.
Routt County Chief Deputy District Attorney Matt Karzen asked Hill to sentence Flannery to between four and six years because it would send a message that the behavior would not be tolerated in the community.
"To this day she appears to be taking zero responsibility for what she has done," Karzen said.
Deputy Public Defender Abby Kurtz-Phelan asked Hill to sentence Flannery to a community corrections program.
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From the previous two cases, Flannery avoided prison and was ordered to pay back the victims. Karzen said her payments have averaged $33 per month, and he did not consider that a "good faith effort."
"You have made an abysmal effort to make that restitution," Hill said.
In 2009, Flannery, former executive director of Routt County Habitat for Humanity, was convicted of stealing from the organization. The reported losses were as much as $72,000.
Flannery committed the thefts by depositing pre-signed checks intended for vendors into her personal bank accounts and by stealing grocery store cards intended as a fundraiser for Habitat.
The embezzlement from Habitat was discovered when Flannery’s former employer, the Rio Blanco County Historical Society, accused her of stealing from that nonprofit organization to pay personal bills. Flannery allegedly charged $7,000 of personal expenses, including her private cell phone, to the historical society, and she took $7,300 in small bills and checks, which she later repaid.
Before working for Habitat for Humanity and the Rio Blanco County Historical Society, Flannery served as the Moffat County Tourism Association director for a year and a half, resigning in January 2008. A Moffat County investigation turned up nothing suspicious.
When the most recent crime occurred, Flannery was on probation related to the two previous cases.
Karzen said her most recent employer was aware of Flannery's prior felony convictions, and the employer still entrusted her with his livelihood by making her an office manager. Karzen said Flannery took cash and used business accounts to pay personal bills.