PRINCETON — A Loogootee woman pleaded guilty Tuesday in Gibson Circuit Court to three level 6 felony counts of theft, forgery and fraud and was sentenced to 360 days probation.
The judge dismissed 19 other felony counts in the case.
Neely Held, 25, who was from Bicknell and lived in Vincennes at the time of her arrest, was arrested almost a year ago on 22 felony charges — one count of theft, seven counts of fraud and 14 counts of forgery reported by her former employer during her time as an advertising sales representative for Paxton Media Group, which owns Vincennes Sun-Commercial, The Princeton Daily Clarion, and Mount Carmel (Ill.) Register newspapers.
At the time of Held's arrest, police stated in the affidavit of probable cause for the criminal charges that overcharges and unauthorized charges from Held's actions exceeded $125,000. The newspapers issued credits to all of the affected advertisers.
Along with the year of probation, Special Judge August Straus said roughly $215 of fines and court costs will be taken out of the original $1,500 bond Held posted in July 2018. The bond money will also be applied to probation fees. Anything remaining owed at the finality of probation will need to be paid, he ordered.
Straus said Held's charges could be converted to misdemeanors at the end of her probation, but they will remain felonies while probation is in force. According to the court record, charges will convert automatically unless there is an objection, following that year of probation.