Accused embezzler denied probation in District Court
EAGLE — An admitted embezzler will not be granted probation, a District Court Judge ruled.
Allison Butler-Coyle admitted stealing $122,884.26 from three local businesses. She has repaid $3,696.26 — 3 percent — since she was sentenced in October 2013. Butler-Coyle asked Judge Paul Dunkelman to change her sentence from community corrections, a halfway house/work release program, to straight probation. She’s in Durango and wants to be on probation so she can drive a car, get a second job and pay the restitution more quickly.
How can we trust you?
Dunkelman asked Butler-Coyle how he knew she would use the extra money to pay back the businesses. She said the court would have to take her word.
“Your words have lost credibility, although you’re starting to get it back,” Dunkelman said.
Rachel Smiley, with Alpine Party Rental said Butler-Coyle’s embezzlement cost them $38,000. They have received $780 in restitution so far.
Shanah Windey, president and owner of Hospitality Trends, said Butler-Coyle stole $75,000 from her business and has repaid $2,000. Windey’s insurance company paid $10,000 of that, but then canceled her policy. Their insurance costs skyrocketed because of Butler-Coyle’s embezzlement, she said.
“Ms. Butler needs to be inconvenienced a lot longer than 15 months in order for her to realize the impact this has had on me, my family, my employees and the other victims,” Windey said. “I’m not interested in making this process more convenient for her.”
The rest of her life
While arguing against probation, prosecutors calculated that if she keeps paying restitution at her current rate, about $500 a month, she’ll be making payments for at least 20 years, not including interest.
Butler-Coyle said she is working 50 to 60 hours per week with the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory in Durango and would like to get a second job. The bus system stops running to her area in the early evening, which she said precludes her from getting a night job. She also said she wants to move outside town because it’s expensive to live in Durango.
“I have been promoted, and I continue to take steps to better myself,” Butler-Coyle said.
Butler-Coyle’s public defender claimed she was not a risk and that probation isn’t significantly different from the non-residential part of her sentence she’s serving now. The only practical change would be an improvement in Butler-Coyle’s cost of living and her employability, her attorney said.
Probation officers said her rent is about $450 a month and argued that taking the bus is a better way to get around, instead of buying a car.
Butler-Coyle spent some of the stolen money on a honeymoon to Italy and other travel, said prosecutor Joe Kirwan.
“We don’t have just one victim in this case. Ms. Butler-Coyle went through this scheme of stealing from three different employers and it did not stop until it was discovered by the third one. It’s not like she had a change of heart and asked for help. She was caught,” Kirwan said.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and email@example.com.