McDonald to plead in city theft

© 2017-Alamosa News

ALAMOSA — Former Alamosa Finance Director Amanda McDonald, 41, will plead guilty to some of the charges related to alleged embezzlement during her tenure with the city, her attorney Public Defender James Valenti told Alamosa County Judge Daniel Walzl on Monday.

Judge Walzl had scheduled a preliminary hearing for McDonald on Monday, but Valenti said his client would waive her right to a preliminary hearing in county court. He added she would be accepting a plea agreement that includes a deferred judgment on a felony unauthorized use of transaction device charge and a straight plea to a misdemeanor theft charge. The remaining charges would be dismissed as part of the plea agreement, Valenti explained.

McDonald had initially been charged with felony theft, felony embezzlement of public property, misdemeanor first degree official misconduct and the felony unauthorized use of transaction device charge that will be included in the plea agreement.

Judge Walzl asked McDonald if it was her desire to waive her right to a preliminary hearing, and she said it was. He accepted the preliminary hearing waiver and bound the case over to district court for October 3.

The judge asked if there was restitution in this case, and Valenti said, “That will be a major issue in this case.”

He said that was something that had not yet been worked out.

“That is one of the biggest issues we have as of right now,” Valenti said. “We are not agreeing to any number.”

Deputy District Attorney Brendan Johns confirmed there would be restitution.

Walzl asked if McDonald understood that restitution would be part of the sentence imposed and that the district court judge would have to consider. Valenti said he had explained that to her.

McDonald, who worked for the City of Alamosa from 2007 until she was fired last year, was accused of misappropriating $65,000 in public funds and providing health insurance through the city to an unauthorized family member, which resulted in the city being charged approximately $400,000 in unauthorized premiums and insurance benefits being paid out.

McDonald, who was arrested in July at her Del Norte residence, is out of custody on bond.

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