RENO, NV - Former Washoe County court clerk Teresa Prince will spend a year in prison for embezzling more than $200,000.
A judge sentenced Prince Thursday for the 44 times Prince took money over a course of 2 years stating, "she never hesitated or even asked for help."
Prince pleaded guilty to three counts of Grand Theft to the tune of more than $200,000. It was money she had access to throughout the course of her job with the county.
Prince is an admitted compulsive gambler and says she has been successfully working a program for the last 6 months. Her attorney asks for her to be diverted to a rehabilitation program instead of probation or prison time.
Judge Connie Steinheimer testified as part of the victim impact portion of the trial. She says the public trust has been violated through Prince's actions.
Steinheimer testified that recently, a perspective juror, when asked if he would like his jury fee to go to the Children's Cabinet, asked instead, 'will it really go there, isn't one of your clerks facing grand theft charges?'
Prosecutor Dan Greco asked that Prince be sentenced to 8 years in prison. The judge disagreed, saying it was too harsh, as Prince had no record and appeared to be committed to her rehabilitation.
However, the judge said because Prince is a public employee, she is held to a higher standard and the sentence must be a deterrent to anyone else who ends up in her position.
The judge ordered 1 to 5 years for each of the 3 counts of Grand Theft. That sentence will be served concurrently, which means she must serve at least one year in prison.
Her attorney asked if Prince could turn herself in Friday. The judge denied the request, saying Prince had 3 months to make arrangements for the possibility of going to prison.