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A former North Dakota Department of Transportation employee accused of embezzling thousands of dollars will serve probation and pay restitution for her crimes.

Dorma Jean Steier, 62, of Mandan, was charged with felony counts of theft, forgery and deceptive writings.  

Steier changed her plea to the crimes in South Central District Court on Monday, according to Burleigh County Assistant State's Attorney Marina Spahr.

Spahr said she was not seeking jail time for Steier due to her minimal criminal record and in hopes of getting restitution paid in the case more quickly.

"This was not a case where jail time would be what's best," she said. "With the restitution owed, there's only one way to get that back."

And that's if Steier continues to draw an income. Spahr said she believes Steier receives retirement, Social Security payments and works part time. The state is aiming to receive a portion of that each month.

An investigation found, during her time with the NDDOT Motor Vehicle Division, Steier embezzled more than $28,000 from customer transactions. Court documents say Steier voided 459 cash, check, debit and credit transactions from June 2016 to December 2017, resulting in "cash theft, document manipulation and forgery."

Spahr said she will seek the amount embezzled plus the cost incurred by the NDDOT to search for the fraudulent transactions during a restitution hearing scheduled for Feb. 7.

New South Central District Judge Daniel Borgen handed Steier a suspended sentence — three years of prison time she won't have to serve as long as she meets the conditions of her probation.

DOT spokeswoman Jamie Olson previously said Steier worked about 18 years for DOT before being terminated in December 2017. She said DOT has "remedied" the transactions from the case's time frame and implemented a new software system for better tracking of transactions.

Olson told the Tribune that any restitution received will go back into the NDDOT's operating budget.

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Reach Jessica Holdman at 701-250-8261 or jessica.holdman@bismarcktribune.com

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