Judge Gives Ex-Bookkeeper Prison Time

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ASHVILLE, Ala. (AP) - A former high school bookkeeper convicted of embezzling thousands of dollars from Ashville High School was sentenced Monday.

Circuit Judge Charles Robinson ordered 37-year-old Amy Murphree of Steele to serve 15 years for theft and 10 years for each of three counts of forgery. The sentence will run concurrently.

In August, she was ordered repay more than 140-thousand, 700
dollars in restitution to the St. Clair County School System.

Murphree pleaded guilty in May to theft and fraud in what a prosecutor said involved an embezzlement scheme from the school. The investigation covered a 20-month period from October 2003 to May 2005 and involved the forgery of checks written on the school's account.

The missing money was uncovered during a state audit and Murphree was arrested in September 2005.

She is scheduled to appear at a probation hearing on January 23rd. The judge can grant or deny Murphree's probation or give her a split sentence.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)