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6:50 AM Sat, Nov. 17th

<BR>Former paint employee agrees to pay former boss

A former bookkeeper for a Kingman painting company has agreed to pay $75,000 in restitution as part of a plea agreement in a theft case.

Carol Sawyer pleaded guilty in July to one count of theft, for stealing more than $25,000 from the painting company.

Three other counts of felony theft were dismissed.

A September restitution hearing in Mohave County Superior Court was continued to Dec.

13 because of amount of evidence provided by defense attorneys and prosecution.

During the Dec.

13 hearing, Judge Steven Conn set Sawyer's sentencing for Jan.

9.

Under the agreement, she will receive probation and no jail time, her attorney Lee Novak said.

Sawyer was employed by a Kingman painting company owned by Dale Sanderson.

Sanderson said he doubted he would ever see the restitution.

Sawyer, who is not in custody, previously insisted she borrowed about $25,000 over the years and was trying to pay back the money by working for free, before she left the company last year.

During his testimony at September's restitution hearing, Sanderson said Sawyer wrote checks to herself using money that was supposed to pay his nephew, who was hired as an employee.

He also testified that Sawyer wrote checks in the name of cash, money he claimed she stole.

Sanderson estimated Sawyer stole more than $111,000 during her four years working for his contract painting company, which he started 13 years ago, and his other company, a paint store.

When Sawyer failed to cancel a check after Sanderson's wife sent another check to Sawyer, who was out-of-state, Sanderson became suspicious of his bookkeeper's practice and notified police.

According to court documents, between 1997 and August 2001, while an employee at Sanderson's company, Sawyer, 40, committed theft of more than $25,000 from the company.