A Columbus woman who was charged with felony theft paid $60,000 in restitution and entered a plea deal Aug. 18 in Platte County court.
According to court documents, Columbus Police Sgt. Bret Strecker met with employees of the Hinze Chiropractic Clinic in December 2021 about Laurie A. Kouma, 46, who was stealing money from the company.
The employees had given the police documents showing that the cash payments were never deposited in the bank. Kouma was the office manager of Hinze Chiropractic at the time and he was the one who took the money and also deposited money in the bank. His handwriting was reportedly on deposit vouchers brought to the bank several times a week.
According to court documents, there was a total loss of $59,180 over three years. His original charge was larceny by unlawful taking over $5,000, a Class IIA felony. The documents also state that Strecker reported that there were documents showing the theft dated back more than three years, but police could only use the last three years due to the statute of limitations for the crime.
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On August 18, in Platte County court, Kouma reached a plea deal in which his charge was reduced to attempted robbery by unlawful taking over $5,000, a Class IIIA felony.
Additionally, she was sentenced to three years probation and 90 days in prison to be served in 30-day increments and staggered over her probationary period. She was ordered to serve 30 days immediately, 30 days beginning August 18, 2023; and 30 days from August 18, 2024.
However, the remaining 60 days can be waived, meaning the judge can waive any jail time that may arise if she complies with the terms of her probation order.
Kouma had also agreed to pay restitution totaling $60,000, which was paid in full to the owner of the business prior to sentencing.