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A former long-time Columbia County, Oregon employee is expected to serve 30 months in prison and pay restitution after pleading guilty to stealing nearly $600,000 from the county, county officials announced Thursday.

Linda Hald pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree aggravated theft in Columbia County District Court Wednesday. The 30-year employee was indicted in October 2016 after funds appeared to be missing from the Department of Community Justice Adult Division. Hald had been office manager there and was the sole person responsible for accounting, data entry and deposits.

A forensic audit of the department found county losses totaled nearly $586,000. According to a press release, the county has recovered about $543,000 of the loss from insurance proceeds.

Hald’s sentencing will take place in July. Judge Ted Grove is expected to order her to pay restitution and fines and sentence her to two and a half years in prison and two years’ probation, the press release said.

Columbia County has implemented improved cash-handling procedures and employee training to better safeguard public money, the press release said, without including specifics.

Contact City Editor Andre Stepankowsky at 360-577-2520.


Cityside Editor

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