EAGLE — An admitted embezzler was ordered to repay the money she stole, but she dodged a 20-year prison sentence.
Allison Butler Coyle will spend eight years in a community corrections facility in Durango and has to repay the $129,401.41 she embezzled from at least three local businesses while working as their bookkeeper.
If she fails in community corrections, then she goes to prison for 20 years.
When she’s done with community corrections, she begins 10 years of probation, said Chief District Court Judge Thomas Moorhead, who handed down the sentence Wednesday. Coyle pleaded guilty to six felony charges for theft and forgery.
Coyle’s voice broke as she addressed her victims.
“I have asked for and received forgiveness from God and my family. I hurt them and I know an apology will not help ease that pain, but I do apologize,” Coyle said.
She said she was a cocaine addict and used the drug to help her deal with her depression. She said she’ll work two and three jobs to pay back her victims as quickly as possible.
Victims voice frustration
Coyle did most of her damage with two local hospitality companies and an excavation company.
Shanah Windey-Bale, of Hospitality Trends, said that Coyle cost her company $134,000.
Rachel Smiley, of Alpine Party Rentals, told Moorhead that of the tens of thousands they’ve found so far that Coyle stole, most of the money appeared to go to Coyle’s cocaine habit.
While working for Alpine Party Rentals, Coyle got married and Smiley said the company let her use about $11,000 worth of equipment for her wedding.
Coyle even stole the money they were going to use to pay for all that, Smiley said.
They took out a $25,000 loan to cover what she stole and are paying it back, Smiley said.
Victims also said Coyle took out credit cards in her husband’s name and ran up the tabs.
Windey-Bale called Coyle’s thefts “methodical.”
“She knew exactly what she was doing and how to cover her tracks,” she said.
Coyle wrote checks to herself, then posted it to a purchase from a vendor. Coyle also altered the ledger so that none of the discrepancies appeared, Windey-Bale said.
Windey-Bale said it took her CPA 19 hours to figure it out. She learned of the thefts when one of Coyle’s other victims sent her a Facebook message.
She said her employees and customers have stuck with the company.
“She did not take the core of our customers and the relationships we’ve established over 15 years,” Windey-Bale said.
Windey-Bale said Coyle stole the money while they were working in the office in Windey-Bale’s home.
“Allison was a friend of our family. I always thought I could trust her,” Windey-Bale said, adding that her two 5 year olds called Coyle “Aunt Alli.”
“Allison Butler is a criminal and con artist and cannot be trusted,” Windey-Bale said.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.