A Blue Springs woman will spend two years in federal prison for embezzling more than $140,000 from the Jackson County Circuit Court.
Teresa L. York, 59, was sentenced to two years without parole and ordered to pay $139,536 in restitution Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs.
York, who served as the court administrator from her appointment in 2003 until she resigned on July 2, 2012, pleaded guilty to mail fraud on Nov. 21, 2013. She admitted that she embezzled the money from the court between January 2009 and June 2012.
York used court-paid credit cards for her personal use and to purchase gift cards for her own use. She also entered into a fraudulent contract for which no work was actually done and benefited a person with whom she had a “romantic relationship,” according to Tammy Dickinson, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri.
“This highly paid public official abused her position of trust and authority to steal from the court month after month, year after year, and did not stop until she was caught,” Dickinson said in a press release. “She lavished public money on personal luxuries and secretly enriched her boyfriend. Now she is being held accountable for breaking the laws she was sworn to uphold.”
The total loss to the court was $142,278, but York reimbursed the court $2,742 after being confronted with her scheme and being placed on leave. That resulted in a net loss of $139,536.
York also sold computers owned by the court and kept the proceeds for her personal use. She also used the court’s credit card to illegally purchase $79,438 in these items:
• $2,252 for gasoline for personal use.
• $9,532 for gift cards and personal items from Amazon.com.
• $6,446 for personal items such as clothing and make-up.
• $8,350 for personal meals.
• $487 for U.S. postage stamps.
• $46,535 for Apple computer products.
• $35,356 for gift cards. She used $29,371 in gift cards for her personal use and distributed $5,985 in gift cards to cour staff as merit bonuses as determined by her.
York also embezzled $64,500 through the fraudulent contract with CBDM Services, LLC, for workflow analysis, supposedly for a business process preview, a customer service evaluation and an organizational redesign. That company – not organized as a company at the time – was a front for a third party, identified only as “B.V.,” who got more than 90 percent of the payments to CBDM and who had a personal relationship with York. The court paid $64,500 – approxmimately $62,000 of it sent to “B.V.” – but no usable “work product” was ever produced, the U.S. attorney’s office says.