A former Columbia County Sheriff’s Office employee agreed to pay back $32,478 she stole while working there, and has accepted her sentence.

Cassandra Atkinson of Magnolia appeared with her attorney, David Price, in Columbia County Circuit Court. She received five years’ probation for stealing the money. The charges of forgery first degree and computer fraud were taken off the original charges as part of the negotiations between Price and the state prosecutors.

Although the affidavit does not explain the reason, Atkinson took the money from her employer between January 1, 2020 and September 5, 2021.

The probable cause affidavit in the case says that that Atkinson, who was in charge of receiving, receipting, crediting and depositing money for bond and fines due to the Sheriff’s Office -- forged accountings, receipts and deposit slips for such funds and payments. Instead of depositing and crediting the payments into the proper bond and fine accounts with the Sheriff's Office, she stole and kept the money for her benefit.

Additionally, Atkinson used the Columbia County computer system to conceal the theft of the payments and fraudulent accountings, the document said.

Theft of property is a Class B felony in the State of Arkansas and can be punishable by five to twenty years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines.

According to jail records, Atkinson was arrested on June 6, 2022 at 11:01 a.m. and was released at 11:30 a.m. on that same day. Her bond was $5,000.

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