A woman who was charged with multiple counts of defrauding the Bouse Elementary School District has entered a new tentative plea agreement with the La Paz County Attorney’s Office.
Jacqueline Nelson’s last plea agreement fell through when Nelson rejected it. She would have had to pay $3,500 at the beginning and another $1,800 a month until restitution was paid in full. She would also have had to spend one year in jail.
A jury trial was scheduled for August but negotiations with Nelson continued, and with the new agreement, she pleaded guilty to one count of theft and one count of fraudulent schemes. Under the terms of the agreement, Ms. Nelson will receive a prison sentence of from 4 months to 2 years on the theft charge and seven years of probation on the fraud charge.
La Paz County Attorney Tony Rogers says the agreement aims for restitution and safety: “The agreement is designed to provide the dual benefits of monetary compensation to the victims and safety for the community through supervision and monitoring by the probation department after Ms. Nelson’s release from prison,” he said.
The origin of the $43,000 was a mystery at first, with Nelson not wanting to share the source of the money. But after the attorneys spent some time in judge’s chambers, Nelson reportedly told the court she got the money from the following sources:
- $15,000 on loan from a friend
- $10,000 from a trust
- $7,500 saved from employment
- $3,500 from cleaning and painting houses
- $1,500 from her T-shirt business
La Paz County Attorney Tony Rogers says he is having the Sheriff’s Department investigate the sources of the money to ensure that they are legitimate before proceeding with the plea agreement. “To assure the money was acquired legitimately, Lt. Bagby and Det. Draper of the La Paz County Sheriff’s Office are conducting an investigation,” Rogers added.
“The Judge has authority to void the plea agreement if he is not satisfied as to the sources of the money tendered by Ms. Nelson for restitution. At this point, a jury trial is still possible.”
Questions regarding the restitution funds will be resolved in a court hearing on November 14th at 1:30 p.m.