Alleged embezzler to enter guilty plea
A former Gypsum woman accused of embezzling several businesses and a nonprofit in the valley has agreed to enter a guilty plea.At a court hearing Wednesday, an attorney for the woman, Kathleen Cleaver, said she is ready to enter a guilty plea to some type of felony theft charge. Her next hearing is Aug. 25. “We’re figuring out the restitution amount,” said the attorney, Terry O’Connor.Cleaver, 56, a computer consultant, is accused of: Stealing money from the Vail Symposium, a nonprofit organization; stealing about $12,000 from the Galatyn Lodge in Vail; stealing money and a computer worth about $15,000 from Streamline Builders in Gypsum; and defrauding her landlord. In June, District Judge Tom Moorhead agreed to put all the cases together.
Aside from ordering Cleaver to pay restitution, a judge could also sentence her to serve time in prison, District Attorney Mark Hurlbert said.”She certainly is prison eligible,” Hurlbert said. If she were convicted on the most serious charge she faces, Cleaver could spend up to 12 years in prison, a fine of $3,000 to $750,000 and mandatory parole of five years.According to court records, Cleaver stole money from the Vail Symposium – where she was a computer consultant for about four years – to allegedly pay her bond and attorney’s fees in the Streamline Builders’ case.
Carol Alleman, manager of the Galatyn Lodge, said she hired Cleaver in the fall to install high-speed Internet in the hotel. Alleman said she gave Cleaver a deposit to buy equipment from a subcontractor, but, allegedly, Cleaver never did.”It will be in everybody’s best interest if we can work something out,” O’Connor said.Alleman said she’d like to see as much restitution as possible.”If she can make restitution, that’s adequate,” said Alleman. “I’m not too concerned if she doesn’t go to jail. She’s more likely to pay restitution if she isn’t in prison.”
Last month, Cleaver spent a week at the Eagle County jail for violating the conditions of her bond when she moved to Wyoming without the authorization of the court. She turned herself in to police on May 10.Moorhead reinstated Cleaver’s bond after she said she had missed the court day inadvertently and wasn’t trying to flee the area. In December, Cleaver, who has acknowledged in previous interviews she took the money from the Vail Symposium, said she wanted to stay in the valley, where she has lived for 15 years. But she moved to Wyoming because she said she couldn’t find work in the valley, she said. Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.