EVANSTON — A former director for Uinta Senior Citizens, Inc. has been sentenced for embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars during her time overseeing the Evanston and Bridger Valley senior centers.
Sarah Kristine Blakeman was in United States District Court in Cheyenne Thursday, Jan. 3, where Judge Nancy D. Freudenthal sentenced her to 57 months in federal prison and ordered Blakeman to pay $605,590.31 in restitution.
Blakeman was indicted by a federal grand jury in August 2018. According to the indictment, Blakeman “knowingly and unlawfully embezzled and intentionally misapplied property worth at least $5,000 that was in the care, custody or control of Uinta Senior Citizens, Inc.”
However, Amy Kelly, who served as director from March 2016 to August of last year, said the special agent assigned to the case indicated the actual amount Blakeman embezzled was closer to $1 million.
Blakeman worked at the senior center for 15 years before she was escorted out of the building by law enforcement on Feb. 10, 2016.
“When we first found some real evidence that this was going on and were able to have the board look at it and realize, ‘Wow, we have a problem,’” Kelly said. “None of us thought it was going to be more than a few thousand dollars, truly.”
But during the two-year investigation, Kelly said, it was shocking to learn more and more theft had taken place.
“Then when we opened Pandora’s box, so to speak, and found all the checks and credit card receipts … it was overwhelming, the evidence. Like, ‘Oh my God, this is huge.’ Our jaws would drop sometimes in astonishment,” Kelly said.