By Max Hrenda
In addition to receiving several months of jail time, a former clerk for the Watauga River Regional Water Authority could spend most of the rest of her life repaying back her former employer.
On Wednesday, Criminal Court Judge Stacy Street sentenced Lori Beth Feaster to more than four months in jail and six years of probation after she pleaded guilty to two felony charges of theft over $10,000 and a felony charge of forgery, and two misdemeanor offenses of official misconduct and one charge of forgery.
Additionally, Street ordered Feaster to pay restitution to the WRRWA in the amount of $55,581.50, which will be paid in monthly $100 increments until the debt is satisfied.
At that rate, it would take Feaster more than 46 years to satisfy the amount.
Still, Feaster’s attorney, Clifton Corker, said he and his client were satisfied with Street’s ruling.
“We do not anticipate filing an appeal,” Corker said. “We think the court properly weighed all of the factors. This is a stiff penalty, but Ms. Feaster is prepared to go do the time.”
Along with Feaster’s four months in jail – during which time she will be allowed to leave for work release – Street also ordered an additional week of jail time to be served over the next three years, beginning on Valentine’s Day.
“I’m doing that, in part, because it took you three years to take that much money,” Street said. “I want a reminder; after this year, you’ve got three more years.”
Feaster turned herself in to authorities on May 15, 2013, after she was indicted on the aforementioned charges by a Carter County grand jury. That indictment followed an investigation from the state comptroller’s office that claimed she wrote checks to herself from the WRRWA’s bank account, took money from cash deposits and used the utility’s credit card for personal purchases, such as a washing machine.
To see the rest of this story, log on to the Elizabethton Star’s e-edition or pick up a copy of our award-winning print edition, available through subscriptions, in boxes and at vendors throughout Carter and Johnson counties. The e-edition is free to subscribers. Others may pay a daily, weekly or monthly fee to access the e-edition.