The former Cortez finance director pleaded guilty Thursday to embezzlement of public property and faces prison, probation and restitution if the court accepts the agreement.
Katheryn Moss, 70, allegedly took a total of $63,642 from the city of Cortez between Jan. 1, 2016 and Dec. 31, 2018.
Moss likely will receive a two-year probationary sentence and is responsible for repaying at least $14,733.40 to the city of Cortez and $63,642 to Western Surety Co., the insurance company that covered the city’s loss of the embezzled money.
Her sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 22.
If the court accepts the plea agreement, Moss will be a felon as embezzlement is a Class 5 felony. She could face 90 days to three years in prison, though she is expected to serve much less after a pre-sentencing investigation.
During the pre-sentencing investigation, Moss will be interviewed by the Montezuma County Probation Department, which will evaluate her offense, risk levels, criminal history and family and social history. The probation department will then give a recommendation for the sentence, such as the amount of jail time and a payment plan for the restitution.
Moss has admitted her involvement in the embezzlement, and her attorney, Richard Jaye, said they “have a plan to pay the money back.”
Beyond the embezzlement, Moss has nothing else on her record. According to 22nd District Attorney Will Furse, Moss will “potentially get mental health treatment.”
But the plea agreement makes Moss “formally accountable for the money,” Furse said.
A little over a year ago, Cortez City Manager John Dougherty announced that a former city employee had allegedly embezzled funds from the city. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation, which concluded earlier this year.
Moss served as the city’s finance director for more than three decades before retiring in January 2019.
Charges were filed on July 2 by the 22nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office.