Former autism therapist jailed for embezzlement
SANDPOINT, Idaho (AP) — A former Idaho autism therapist accused of embezzling from her clients has been sentenced to 90 days in jail.
First District Judge Barbara Buchanan imposed the sentence Monday on Krista Louise Kreiger-Hurst, the Bonner County Daily Bee reported .
The 50-year-old Naples resident was charged earlier this year with two counts of grand theft and two counts of fraudulent use of a financial transaction card.
In exchange for a guilty plea to one count of grand theft, the remainder of the criminal charges was dismissed, according to court records.
Kreiger-Hurst emerged as a suspect in the thefts after a Ponderay woman recognized Kreiger-Hurst as her teenage daughter’s autism therapist in surveillance video from a local bank.
“I got myself in a mess and I didn’t know how to get out of it,” Kreiger-Hurst said while stifling back emotion. “I’m just sad that my actions caused this.”
Kreiger-Hurst did not specify the nature of the mess she found herself in, although court documents suggest she was casino gambling with her client’s funds.
The autistic teen’s mother told the court during Kreiger-Hurst’s sentencing hearing that the $3,200 theft nearly left her homeless.
“Krista took more than just money from me,” she said. “She took a sense of security from me. I now have major trust issues with people being in my house. I still feel robbed, dazed, lost and most of all betrayed.”
Kreiger-Hurst was given credit for two days of pretrial incarceration and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service as a condition of a two-year probation stint.
Restitution in the case of the theft is pending.
Information from: Bonner County (Idaho) Daily Bee, http://www.bonnercountydailybee.com