EVERETT — A Marysville woman told a judge on Tuesday that she had grown to care for the former employers she ended up bilking for $167,000.
Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Bruce Weiss told Jessica Schedler that he was grateful he’d never encountered her outside the courtroom if that’s how she treats people she considers her friends.
Weiss sentenced Schedler to 14 months in prison — more than four times the standard-range sentence. Schedler, 36, pleaded guilty in November to first-degree theft. She agreed that she abused her position of trust while committing the theft. That left the door open for prosecutors to seek a sentence beyond the maximum three-month jail term under state sentencing guidelines.
Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Randy Yates asked for a year in prison, saying Schedler should spend time in a state prison — not the county jail — for embezzling so much money from her employers.
Schedler worked as the controller for Northport Fisheries, Inc., beginning in 2006. She is accused of skimming thousands of dollars from the company’s coffers to pay down her credit card debt, pay her day-care bill, finance family vacations, buy expensive wines and desserts and dinners out. Prosecutors alleged that Schedler wrote herself checks and cooked the books to show that the money was going out for legitimate business expenses, according to court papers.
The owners of the seafood brokerage business hired a forensic accountant who turned up unauthorized checks and credit card transactions. The company filed a lawsuit against Schedler in 2008. In a deposition, Schedler reportedly admitted that she was responsible for forging checks and using the company’s credit card to make payments on her own credit card.
Karen Goodnight told Weiss on Tuesday that because of Schedler’s actions she and her husband now have a hard time trusting people. Schedler lied to them from the moment she handed over her resume, Goodnight said.
“She didn’t have the right to steal from us,” she said.
Schedler apologized for her actions. She said she has been trying to repair the damage by making monthly payments. She said other people, including her children, are being punished for her actions.
Her lawyer Brian Ashbach asked for a six-month jail sentencing. He said that would allow Schedler’s children to visit her more frequently.
Weiss said he was sorry for the impact on the children but Schedler deserved to go to prison. He also ordered her to pay back the $167,000 she stole. He noted that Schedler likely will never be able to pay back all the money.
“The behaviors you engaged in are reprehensible,” Weiss said.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; firstname.lastname@example.org.