- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 25, 2015

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - A former Jefferson County treasurer who acknowledged embezzling more than $220,000 has been sentenced to three years with the Montana Department of Corrections.

The Helena Independent Record reports (https://goo.gl/xBzAYZ ) Patricia Dawn O’Neill was sentenced Wednesday and ordered to pay about $250,000 in restitution. She pleaded guilty in July to felony theft.

The case came to light in March 2014 when O’Neill told her cousin - the county’s clerk and recorder - that she had attempted suicide because she had taken $200,000 in county funds in the six years since her divorce. An initial audit found at least $104,000 was missing, but a later report showed a $220,101 discrepancy.

Bank statements showed O’Neill wrote numerous checks to casinos.

According to court records, her plan was to win the lottery and repay the county.

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Information from: Independent Record, https://www.helenair.com

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