Monday, February 17, 2020
Feb. 17, 2020

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La Center Little League embezzler gets 45 days

Organization’s former treasurer stole between $9,000 and $23,000

By , Columbian Assistant Metro Editor

A woman who embezzled thousands of dollars from the La Center Little League was sentenced Thursday to 45 days to be split between the Clark County Jail’s work release and work crew programs.

Liska A. Stokes, 40, of La Center, the organization’s former treasurer, previously pleaded guilty in Clark County Superior Court to first-degree theft and tampering with evidence, a gross misdemeanor. She has no prior felony criminal history.

Judge Scott Collier sentenced Stokes to 30 days work release — a program that allows inmates to work outside in the community and be confined when they’re not working — and 15 days on a work crew. A sentence of 364 days on the gross misdemeanor was suspended for two years, meaning Stokes could serve some of that time if she violates her probation.

A forensic accountant found that Stokes stole between $9,000 and $23,000 from the league over a two-year span, according to a probable cause affidavit. The league said most of the missing money appears to have come from concession stand sales that never made it to its bank account. Stokes served as the league’s treasurer from 2011 to February 2015.

Stokes also destroyed physical evidence by erasing financial information stored in QuickBooks on the league’s laptop. She entered false financial information into the program before returning the laptop upon her resignation, the affidavit states.

During sentencing, Deputy Prosecutor Greg Harvey argued that Stokes should serve a 90-day sentence, the top of the sentencing range.

A board member from the league read a statement to the court in support of the prosecution’s recommendation.

More than a dozen people attended the hearing in support of Stokes, who wiped away tears through much of the proceeding. She submitted a written statement to the court but declined to speak.

Her attorney, Mark Muenster, asked that Stokes receive no jail time and said it’s unlikely she will ever re-offend.

In making his decision, Collier looked at several factors, including the impact on Stokes’ children and her support system, and conversely, her breach of the league’s trust.

“I do think you are very remorseful and shameful of what you’ve done,” he told Stokes.

In addition to her sentence, Stokes will have to pay restitution in an amount to be determined and cannot have contact with any of the league’s board members.