A former bookkeeper for Golden Valley VFW Post 7051 learned her punishment Tuesday after she admitted to stealing from the nonprofit.
Becky Heald, 59, pleaded guilty to felony theft and apologized to the people she worked with at the VFW, where she was a bookkeeper for 25 years.
From 2007 through 2011 prosecutors say Heald stole more than $200,000 by writing checks to herself and to certain vendors. She also admitted stealing cash on at least one occaision.
Heald was sentenced to one year in the county workhouse and five years probation. The judge also ordered Heald to pay $202,000 in restitution, get help for her gambling addiction and stay away from casinos.
In a statement before the court, Heald apologized saying she loved her job and the people she worked with, but was drowning in her gambling addiction.
Post commander Cookie Rivera says they are still hurt by four years of theft that left the post near the brink of closing and without the ability to fund community requests for grants. Rivera said the VFW is finally on its way to recovering from the financial loss.
"I think in her mind it was an apology but to the members that were friends, thought they were friends, it runs shallow and hollow," said Rivera. "But we have to live with the sentence and the sentence was just. A lot of members expected more, the law is what is it so we're satisfied."
Mike Johnson, reporting
August 14, 2012