Petersburg Pilot -


Avenson given six months jail time for felony theft


Judge Carey sentenced Tammi L. Avenson, 49, to serve six-months in jail when she was sentenced on Jan. 23 for conviction of felony theft in the 2nd degree and attempted falsification of business records. Avenson worked as a bookkeeper for Rock-n-Road Construction during the time of the thefts and is believed to have taken over $65,000 according to court testimony.

Richard Burrell, owner of the company, told the court: “I’m pretty disappointed. I hope she doesn’t get a light sentence.”

He also told the court he had stopped looking when the stolen funds came to $65,000. He added that he had spent thousands more accounting for the stolen funds and hoped he could be reimbursed for that expense as well.

His daughter Katrina, who works for the company told the court, “She stole for 22 months. She looked us in the eye and lied every day. It has created stress on my father and has been detrimental to his health. People should be held accountable for their criminal actions.”

The district attorney called the matter an, “egregious offense.” He added that Avenson was just so blatant about it. It was a calculated act over a couple of years.

The D.A. and the public defender agreed that Avenson needed to pay the money back. The D.A. told the court, “our primary concern is to get the money back to the company that she almost ruined.”

Prior to sentencing, Avenson apologized to her former employer. “I just want to apologize to Richard for doing this. I don’t have an explanation of why. I’m just really, really sorry,” she stated.

Prior to sentencing the court noted: “We have a baffling set of circumstances in which a person has, without any explanation, violated a position of trust for her own benefit, taking a substantial amount of money, in this case, from a private business.

“She came highly recommended. She is 49 years old with no criminal record and it’s pretty clear that once again we have greed without any other explanation.

“It’s pretty clear that she must have known she was going to get caught.” Carey added, “This has had a serious effect on a local business and a local businessman, it just should not have happened.”

On the theft in the second degree she was sentenced to serve four months in jail, suspended imposition of sentence and probation for three years with a long list of conditions including that she make a reasonable effort to maintain steady employment and to work with her parole officer to determine a restitution schedule.

She was ordered to submit to a behavioral health evaluation within 30-days of release from jail.

On Count 2, Attempted Falsification of Business Records she was sentenced to serve two more months with the same conditions of probation as in Count 1. The court warned Avenson that violation of parole conditions could send her to jail for up to six years on both counts. She was ordered to pay P.D. fees of $500 and two surcharges for $200 with $100 suspended.

Avenson was ordered to report to Lemon Creek Correctional Facility in Juneau by 8 p.m. on Feb. 3.

The judge concluded by saying it would be tough for Ms. Avenson to get the kind of job earning the kind of money required to make restitution.


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