Taries Merie Stroop Sentenced in U.S. District Cour
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Great Falls, on September 13, 2010, before U.S. District Judge Sam E. Haddon, TARIES MERIE STROOP, a 49-year-old resident of Great Falls, appeared for sentencing. STROOP was sentenced to a term of:
- Prison: 6 months
- Special Assessment: $100
- Restitution: $21,991.93
- Supervised Release: 3 years
STROOP was sentenced in connection with her guilty plea to embezzlement from a local government.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carl E. Rostad, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
In April of 2009, suspicions arose that certain income to the Cascade County Sheriff's Office had not been properly accounted for and had possibly been stolen. The Sheriff's Office initiated an internal investigation which concluded that $46,580.62, more or less, had gone missing from the Civil Department.
STROOP worked for the Cascade County Sheriff's Office from February 2005 until her resignation in April 2009. As a clerk in the Civil Department, STROOP was responsible for collecting monies, often in cash, received for such things as concealed weapons permits, fingerprint records, service of court orders, writs of execution, and Sheriff's sales. STROOP was tasked with accounting for and depositing these funds into the Civil Department bank account. She would then write a check on that account to the Cascade County Treasurer for the funds received by the Sheriff's Office.
Beginning in April of 2005, according to STROOP's admissions to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, she began taking cash receipts and omitting them from the bank deposit. STROOP's bank records during this time reflect cash deposits of $3,680, more or less. STROOP has admitted that she had no other source of cash receipts but from her theft from the Sheriff's Office. STROOP admitted to taking as much as five to six hundred dollars each month, but denied ever taking more than $1,000 in any one month period.
By May of 2008, the Sheriff's account was over $14,000 in arrears, that is, receipts and other records reflected that $14,000 had been taken in but not deposited in the office account. STROOP confirmed that she had converted, to her personal use, cash monies received for service of process fees which were to be deposited, and a check written to the Cascade County Treasurer, on a monthly basis. As noted, every month the Sheriff's Office is required to account for and deposit monies received. Then from that account a check is written to the Cascade County Treasurer. STROOP attempted to cover seven months of arrears (August 2007 to February 2008), where no checks had been sent to the Treasurer, by writing 14 checks to the Cascade County Treasurer, in the total amount of $14,027.89 on May 14, 2008. The money to back those checks came from a large payment of $31,000 made to the Sheriff's Office representing garnishments on judgments which are processed through that office.
Using a $600 per month figure over the four year course of her embezzlement, the loss to the Sheriff's Office would have been approximately $28,000. Because the thefts involved cash, exact theft amounts cannot be determined.
Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that STROOP will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, STROOP does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for "good behavior." However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.
The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.