A former chief financial officer of Vestas American Wind Technology was recently sentenced to eight years in prison for stealing more than $1 million dollars from the firm. A WindsorNOW article stated that the 44-year-old woman worked for Vestas from 2007 until she was let go in 2010 after it was discovered that she was writing large checks to herself and her husband. According to company officials, the money was spent on home improvements, trips, and her childrens’ college tuition.

Her attorney stated that his client had a “delusional sense of entitlement” from having a dream job with a “handsome” salary. She also battled alcoholism and depression. The attorney told the judge that his client had spent the past months getting sober, reconnected with her faith and was working with Vestas to settle a civil lawsuit against her.

The defendant asked the judge to grant her a chance to make things right, acknowledging that she had messed up and that prison would be hard on her. She had accepted a deal in which she would plead guilty on the condition she repay Vestas over a million dollars. She admitted that her actions cost her more than her career. It cost her her marriage, her home, respect and much more.

The judge acknowledged the defendant’s stellar background that included seven years in the military with an honorable discharge and working her way through college and obtaining both a bachelor’s and master’s degree. Despite the defendant’s accomplishments, the judge still viewed her as someone who betrayed her employer’s trust, and having a drinking problem did not excuse her actions.

After receiving her sentence, the defendant quietly cried as she was handcuffed and led out of the courtroom. Several of her friends and family members cried as they watched her being led away.

Ironically, the defendant in this case was looking at a 12-year prison term. The judge gave her eight years because she owned up to what she did and tried to make it right, and because she had no previous record. Still, eight years is a long time to be in jail and away from your loved ones. If you are accused of embezzlement, you need to find a good criminal defense attorney with a solid track record in handling these types of cases to review your case and discuss your legal options.