BISBEE — A former employee convicted of stealing more than $8,000 from the Tombstone Unified School District (TUSD) has until April to make restitution payments or face further court action, a judge told her last week.
As of October, Stephanie Nicole Lord had paid only $80 toward the $8,045.25 she promised to pay when she signed a plea deal in January 2017 which garnered her a five-year probation term. The district has complained at least twice about the lack of payments.
On Nov. 26, Lord appeared before Presiding Judge James Conlogue at the request of deputy probation officer Colin Linde. At the hearing, Conlogue stated it would be a violation of Lord’s conditions of probation if she has the financial ability to make restitution payments but chooses not to.
The judge also ordered the probation department to provide a detailed report of Lord’s payments and ability to pay by March 1, 2019, and ordered the parties to return April 1 for a status conference.
Court records show Lord was initially admonished by Linde in September 2017 after TUSD wrote a letter of concern about restitution. At the time, she had only paid $10.
By mid-March her payments totaled $70 but Linde gave Lord another two months to address the arrears. She made only one more payment — $10 in June — which prompted Linde to get the judge involved.
If the payment issue persists, Linde can petition Conlogue to revoke Lord’s term of probation and impose a prison sentence. A Class 3 felony for theft carries a presumptive prison term of 3 ½ years.
According to court records, Lord came under investigation in February 2016 when the district found funds and equipment were missing from Huachuca City Elementary School dating back to 2013. She was convicted of a misdemeanor in 2012 for theft from the Center for Academic Success, a charter school with campuses in Sierra Vista and Douglas.