Woman gets 90 days for embezzlement

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— A Steamboat Springs woman who pled guilty to embezzling more than $30,000 from the Hampton Inn and Suites was sentenced Tuesday to 90 days in jail and 10 years probation.

Angela Ellen Robinson, 41, is the former hotel manager at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Steamboat. She was arrested in September on suspicion of embezzling $30,724.67 during her employment there. Robinson cashed checks made out to former hotel employees who were kept on the payroll.

Because of the amount of money involved in the crime, Robinson was charged with Class 3 felony theft, which often results in a prison sentence of four to 12 years.

Routt County District Judge Paul McLimans said in court Tuesday that the 90-day sentence was based on Robinson's lack of a criminal history and on recommendations in the presentence report, largely agreed upon by Assistant District Attorney Kerry St. James and Robinson's attorney, Charles Feldmann.

Before sentencing, Robinson pleaded her case to McLimans in front of a courtroom filled with about 25 friends and family members.

Robinson said the thefts began in December 2004 and initially were intended to pay for Christmas gifts for hotel guests and to give unapproved raises and bonuses to hotel employees who she thought were underpaid.

In February, Robinson said, she began to give the bonuses to herself and other managers. The thefts continued into August.

"I am so deeply ashamed at what I did," she said, struggling to hold back tears. "I insanely didn't see this as theft -- I saw it as spending money that needed to be spent on the hotel.

"I was very hurt because I felt the (hotel) owners didn't care about the hotel I was putting my life into," she continued. "Looking back, these thoughts were ridiculous."

St. James and Feldmann agreed to a 90-day sentence but disagreed about how it should be served.

Feldmann requested that Robinson be allowed to serve the sentence during weekends while working at her present job as a saleswoman for Colorado Resort Net and caring for her two sons during the week.

St. James said such a deal would result in her spending only 54 days in jail, setting a low precedent of punishment for stealing such a large sum of money.

McLimans ruled that the sentence begin immediately and be served in a continuous block for the full 90 days.

"This is a crime that involved a very conscious decision," he told Robinson. "You may have used some of the money for the benefit of others, but none of us are able to decide to suddenly become Robin Hood and take from those we see as wealthy."

Upon her release from Routt County Jail, Robinson will begin probation and is required to perform 100 hours of community service. She also is required to repay the entire amount stolen, as well as more than $7,000 in court fines and probation supervision fees.

Specific details of the repayment will be decided at a March 1 restitution hearing. Feldmann asked that the amount be reduced by $2,651.13, money he said came from legitimate checks.

After the sentencing, Rob--inson thanked and hugged family and friends.

"No sad faces," she said. "(McLimans) was very fair."

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