Elizabeth Carmichael pleads guilty
Elizabeth Carmichael, suspect in the Bear Mountain Ranch theft case, pleaded guilty in District Court last week.
Carmichael’s guilty plea was entered as part of a tentative plea agreement currently under review by District Court Judge Mary Hoak. A sentencing hearing has been set for May 19, 2016 at 1 p.m.
Carmichael has been working her way through the court system in Grand County since early 2015 when a warrant was issued for her arrest. She stands accused of stealing more than $451,000 from Bear Mountain Ranch in western Grand County while working as an employee of the Ranch between 2009 and 2012.
On Thursday Feb. 18, 2016 Carmichael, her attorney and representatives of the 14th Judicial District Attorney’s Office signed a plea agreement wherein Carmichael pleaded guilty to an amended count of “criminal attempt to commit theft”. The plea agreement is not official until it is accepted by Judge Hoak, who can choose to accept or reject the plea.
Under the terms of the plea agreement Carmichael will be required to perform 400 hours of community service and undergo five years of supervised probation. She will be required to pay $60,000 of restitution within the first 24 months of probation and will be required to pay an additional $60,000 in restitution over the following three years of probation. Carmichael will also be required to write a letter of apology to the victims in the case, previous owners of Bear Mountain Ranch John and Anne Draper.
Over the course of her probation Carmichael will not be allowed to be employed in accounting, book keeping, banking, as a financial officer, CPA or treasurer. She will not be able to request early termination of her probation and cannot commit any crimes over six points while on probation. Court documents state that jail time is open to the Court, with a statutory cap of 90 days.
The plea agreement itself has not been officially accepted by the Court. District Court Judge Mary Hoak may choose to accept to reject the plea agreement at any time before the May 19 sentencing hearing. A Pre-sentencing investigation has been ordered for the case.
Carmichael initially entered a plea of not guilty in the case on Sept. 28, 2015. Her case had previously been scheduled to go to a jury trail beginning March 3, 2016. The plea agreement signed last week vacates the previously scheduled jury trial.
An arrest warrant was issued for Carmichael on Jan. 7, 2015. She turned herself in to authorities on Jan. 17, 2015. Carmichael worked as both a bookkeeper and manager for Bear Mountain Ranch and was also involved in a related business called Bear Mountain Bison, according to the affidavit for her arrest warrant. Carmichael was fired from her positions at Bear Mountain Ranch in 2012 after the Drapers became suspicious she had stolen funds from the business.
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