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Former school employee ordered to pay back over $10,000 she stole

Crime Watch

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Cristy Jo Burton | Bingham County Jail

SHELLEY — A former Shelley School District 60 employee will have to pay back thousands of dollars that she stole from the district in 2018.

Cristy Jo Burton, 52, will spend 60 days in jail followed by six years in probation. District Judge Darren B. Simpson handed down the sentence after Burton pleaded guilty to two felony charges of grand theft as part of a plea agreement. In exchange for the guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to drop two additional felony counts of grand theft and recommend probation. The agreement also stipulated that Burton pay back $10,891.46 in restitution.

Simpson opted to suspend a three-to-10-year prison term, which Burton could still serve if she is not successful on probation.

Idaho State Police opened an investigation into Burton and her former principal Eric T. Lords at Shelley High School in 2019. Police reports show Burton worked as the school’s financial secretary from August 2015 until November 2019. At the time, investigators were looking at Lords since he allegedly used over $3,700 of school funds for personal use.

RELATED: Former Shelley High School principal charged with felony grand theft

ISP detectives met with school district administrators in October 2019 and found checks were written from the high school’s account to an unrecognized vendor called C & BB AP. An affidavit of probable cause obtained by EastIdahoNews.com shows efforts had been made to hide that the funds were going to that account. Once discovered, school district officials told ISP they wondered if C & BB AP stood for Cristy & Brett Burton Accounts Payable.

Police obtained a search warrant for the couple’s bank records, which confirmed the checks had been deposited into the couple’s personal account between June and August 2018.

Burton’s husband was not charged.

While this case is complete, the one against Lords is still underway. During the lengthy investigation, Lord’s admitted to school district officials that he used a district credit card to make personal purchases. Among them were lawn care services, a family Grand Targhee Ski Pass, a water heater and ATV parts. Lords paid back the funds but was still charged by Bingham County Prosecutor Paul Rogers.

It is not made clear in court records if Lords and Burton knew about each other’s embezzlement from the school.

Lords is expected to enter a guilty plea as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors on Jan. 25.

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