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Tera Pyron

A former employee who stole more than $30,000 from Neptune Aviation must pay the company back, with interest, as part of a six-year deferred sentence she received on Tuesday.

District Court Judge Karen Townsend, who called the crime a "calculated, lengthy theft," went along with the plea agreement in which Tera Christine Pyron, 42, pleaded guilty to a felony theft by embezzlement charge in September.

Pyron was charged this summer after it was discovered she used a company credit card for personal purchases, including clothing, nail polish and golf clubs. She then altered the receipts for the purchases before submitting them for reimbursement.

“I thought I was making a better life for my family and my kids,” Pyron said Tuesday when Townsend asked why she had stolen the money from an owner and former co-workers she repeatedly called her friends.

Pyron said she has already repaid the company for $15,000 of the $32,485 she will be required to pay in restitution for the money she stole, as well as the costs the company incurred to discover the theft.

“I just would like to tell them how sorry I am for what I put them through,” she said.

As part of her deferred sentence, Townsend said Pyron must also do 120 hours of community service, pay a fine of $2,500, and pay 10 percent annual interest on the restitution.

“I will not entertain an early discharge,” the judge said. “She’s going to be on probation for the entire six years in this case.”

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Law and Justice Reporter

Crime reporter for the Missoulian.