Former Clark County Library board member sentenced to prison after embezzling over $200,000 - East Idaho News
Crime Watch

Former Clark County Library board member sentenced to prison after embezzling over $200,000

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Amanda Baker inside the Clark County courthouse on Wednesday. | Andrea Olson,

DUBOIS — A former library board member has been convicted of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars in public funds and sentenced to prison. 

On Wednesday afternoon, Amanda Baker, 47, came into the Clark County courthouse wearing a dress and was accompanied by her husband. She sat at a table with her attorney, Jay Kohler, in front of District Judge Dane Watkins. 

Baker was charged in August with felony grand theft after she admitted to stealing about $50,000. However, after further investigation, that number was discovered to be over $200,000.

Watkins sentenced her to between 15 months and 10 years in prison.

Library board president shares statement

An impact statement was given at her sentencing by Connie Barg, the president of the Clark County Library Board.

Barg had said they were sad and disappointed by the actions of their former board member. The stolen funds were intended to support programs and services. 

“As a result of this theft, we have had to make difficult decisions to cut back on our offerings … eliminating programs and trying to reestablish our reputation with the IRS,” Barg said. 

She added it has had a ripple effect in the small community that relied on and operated on trust.

“The embezzlement fractured the trust, leaving us divided and suspicious. Relationships became strained as accusations flew and neighbors turned against each other,” Barg said. “Ms. Baker’s actions prohibited us from being able to pay contractors and vendors who have their families to care for.” 

RELATED | Investigation shows library official allegedly stole $210,000 in public funds

State prosecutor and attorney

Clark County Prosecutor Janna Birch said through research, she found many embezzlement cases that resulted in probation or a rider. 

Birch told the court she wanted to ensure prison time would be served, and worked with Baker to negotiate a plea agreement in March.

RELATED | Clark County Library board member pleads guilty to embezzling over $226,000

“One of the reasons I was concerned that Ms. Baker would not get prison time… without an agreement is because, on paper, Ms. Baker has no criminal history. But in reality, she’s been committing crimes regularly for at least five years. She just hasn’t been caught,” Birch said. 

Birch recommended 10 years with 15 months fixed with no chance of a rider or early release and 8 years 9 months indeterminate. 

Birch said Baker must pay the full restitution in the amount of $226,384.59 within those ten years. The money would go to the Clark County Library Board and to the Idaho Counties Risk Management Program. She will also have to pay court costs and a court fine. 

Kohler agreed with the sentencing recommendation. He said Baker anticipated serving prison time from the very beginning. 

“She would not feel like she had paid her just dues to society. So prison time is appropriate,” Kohler said. 

He talked about how Baker had gone to the sheriff and originally believed that she had stolen up to $50,000 but through investigation, it was a lot more. 

“She was astounded that it was as high as it was and she felt even worse,” Kohler said. 

He added Baker has a strong desire to make full restitution. 

Amanda Baker
Amanda Baker and her attorney Jay Kohler. Clark County Prosecutor Janna Birch is on the right. | Andrea Olson,

She apologized for her actions

Baker addressed the court and apologized for her actions, crying during part of her statement. 

“One might say that my life changed last August. But the reality is, I changed the course of my life the minute I decided to take money that was not mine. The past few months has given me time to reflect on my life choices,” Baker said. 

“The ripple effects of my crime has been far and wide. When you are in the midst of your own downward spiral, you are unaware of how much others will be affected. I know I’ve hurt so many that trusted me to not only do a job but also protect the hard-earned money of every taxpayer in this county. I make no excuses for my behavior. My actions were selfish and thoughtless,” she continued. 

Baker apologized to the Clark County Library Board. She said she knew she had broken their trust. 

“I lied to you, I damaged the relationship. I hope that one day you will be able to forgive my transgressions,” Baker said. 

She asked for forgiveness from neighbors and friends. Baker said she would spend the rest of her life living up to the person that everyone has thought of her to be. 

Baker said she was grateful for the support. 

“I am in awe of the graciousness shown to me,” Baker said, crying. “Many have shown the love of Christ to me, even though I have not felt I deserve it. ” 

Baker said she knew that the word “sorry” seemed inadequate when considering the facts of her crime, but she said she was “deeply sorry” for her actions and behavior. 

“I am shattered that what I have done has cost so much. I pray that I can become the best version of myself and the person that God has called me to be,” she said. 

Amanda Baker
Amanda Baker. |

The judge sentences her

Watkins talked about how he believed four objectives were satisfied in the case including, protection of society, deterrence to Baker and to others, rehabilitation and punishment for the wrongdoing.

He noted the word “ripple effect” was discussed a few times in court. 

“You will satisfy those objectives through your terms. You will one day be released. You will finish your obligation of restitution. But I don’t think you will ever be the same,” Watkins said to Baker. “And as a result… that is the power of that ripple effect that occurs because of the wrongdoing.”

Watkins said the mountain Baker would have to climb to pay restitution back would be astounding. He accepted the terms of the plea agreement in court.

As Watkins talked to Baker, she occasionally dabbed her eyes with a tissue. 

“I see tears in your eyes. I hadn’t seen them until just a minute ago throughout the proceedings in this case and I often don’t until this moment. When I do … I appreciate it,” Watkins said. 

He added he believes she didn’t think about the reputation of the library board and those in the community during the time she was committing the crime but he believes now that she does. 

“You use the word gratitude for those people around you that have supported you, and I think that’s important for you to hang onto,” Watkins said. 

After Watkins sentenced Baker, she stood up and walked out with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, where she was taken into custody. 

Amanda Baker
Amanda Baker wipes away tears. | Andrea Olson,


Court documents show on Aug. 23, Clark County Sheriff Mark McClure told a deputy about a possible theft or fraud case.

McClure said the Clark County Library Board contracted a roofer to put a new roof on the library. When it was finished, the workers were told that Baker would mail them a check for $23,900. But as of Aug. 7, the check had yet to arrive.

The roofer contacted Baker, who said the check was mailed by certified mail and in transit.

Later, Baker told the roofer that the check “had been cashed in California, and it was going to take the bank 30 to 45 days to investigate and return the funds to the library,” according to court documents.

On Aug. 23, the deputy and sheriff met with Baker and several Clark County Library Board members, requesting statements and payment tracking information with proof of payment from Baker.

On the same day, Baker went to the sheriff’s office and asked to speak with McClure, where she admitted to misappropriating library funds.

According to McClure, Baker said it “started with small amounts of less than $100, then it was just easy.”

Baker said she had been transferring money from the library account to her personal checking account and using the library debit card to withdraw cash from ATMs.

Officials asked why she had been embezzling the money, and Baker replied she “was just trying to survive.”

When asked about the check to the roofers, Baker admitted she never wrote it because there was not enough money to cover it.

Baker told the deputies the embezzlement began when she stepped down from the library board as treasurer and became the bookkeeper in late 2017.

Andrea Olson, EIN
The Clark County Library. | Andrea Olson,