Casper Woman Gets 3-5 Years for Embezzling $52,000 From 12-24 Club
A woman who formerly worked as office manager of the 12-24 Club in Casper was sentenced to a three- to five-year prison term Thursday morning after admitting earlier this year to stealing nearly $53,000 from the group.
Carrie Lynn Good will also have to repay $52,713.06 in restitution. She pleaded guilty in February to one count of grand larceny before Natrona County District Court Judge Catherine Wilking, and the state agreed to recommend the three- to five-year sentence in exchange.
State statute allows for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.
"The facts of this case are disturbing, to say the least," Wilking said after sentencing Good. She was reluctant to accept the plea agreement, rather than impose a more severe sentence.
She said, "It has troubled me greatly," that Good had previously committed the same crime against a local business, saying the prior conviction was one of several "very aggravating factors" in the case.
"She was engaging in the exact same behavior," Wilking said.
The only thing that made the plea agreement palatable, Wilking explained, is the fact that, "good people will continue to do good work... even in the face of the thoughtless and selfish crime you have committed."
The 12-24 Club is a nonprofit organization incorporated in September 1993, initially hosting Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous groups. It has since expanded, operating as "a community resource built around recovery," according to the organization's mission statement.
Casper police began investigating July 13 after the club's executive director, Dan Cantine, reported the embezzlement. Cantine spoke Thursday about the damage Good's crime did to the organization.
"I'm not here to represent my anguish over this crime, even though it has been severe," he said. "I speak for the incredible employees of the 12-24 Club."
Many employees, Cantine said, were due for pay raises. However, due to Good's embezzlement, those raises had to be delayed.
He also spoke about the positive impact of the 12-24 Club within the community.
"Every day there's a new person," Cantine said. "They rely on that place to be there."
"They come in sad and scared," he continued. "After a while, they're smiling. It's an amazing thing to watch."
Cantine also told the story of a man named John who, despite only having part-time work as a handyman, spent considerable time collecting a large number of aluminum cans in order to save up some money to benefit the 12-24 Club.
One day, John walked into Cantine's office and set a bag of money on his desk. The coins and dollar bills totaled $13.45.
"It is astonishing when you hear the story of a man saving aluminum cans for thirteen bucks," Assistant District Attorney Dan Itzen said in court Thursday. On the other hand, he added, Good stole nearly $53,000 from the club -- in the midst of a difficult economy -- and used it to pay off her credit card bills to the tune of about $1,000 each month.
Good didn't come from the "wrong side of the tracks," Itzen continued, saying she's not somebody who didn't have a chance in life, nor was she unaware of what she was doing.
"There's a lot to be angry about," Itzen told Wilking. But, he added, "The 12-24 Club continues to go forward."
Good previously received a suspended prison sentence for committing the same crime against a local business.
"The reason [the 12-24 Club is] in that position is because they gave her a second chance," Itzen explained. "There's no other reason than greed, judge."
Good, her voice shaking, told the court she was unaware of the consequences of her actions and apologized.
"I have brought shame to my family and friends," Good said, emphasizing that many of her loved ones no longer support her.
"I let a lot of people down because of my actions," Good added. "The only one to blame for any of this is myself."
"Ms. Good, the 12-24 Club has tirelessly served this community, and will continue to do so," Wilking said toward the end of Thursday's sentencing hearing. "That building on the corner is a beacon of hope."