SKOWHEGAN — A former clerk at the Somerset County District Attorney’s Office began serving her prison sentence this week following convictions in May on charges that she embezzled more than $90,000 in fees paid to the office and tampered with public records to cover up the crimes.

Julie A. Smith, 59, of Madison, surrendered to authorities Monday morning and will spend 16 months at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham.

Smith, whose husband, Mike Smith, is the county emergency management director and director of communications, had been sentenced in August, but her prison sentence was delayed because of health issues.

Contacted Wednesday by phone, Mike Smith declined to comment on the case.

“I am glad that Ms. Smith is finally serving her time for the tens of thousands of dollars she stole from the people of Somerset County,” said Maeghan Maloney, district attorney for Somerset and Kennebec counties. “Financial crimes cut a hole in the pocketbook of every taxpayer and must be dealt with harshly.”

The theft of $91,345 in fees paid to the District Attorney’s Office occurred from April 2010 to Oct. 9, 2014.

Smith pleaded guilty to a charge of class B felony theft and was sentenced in Somerset County Superior Court to three years in prison, with all but 16 months suspended. She was also sentenced to six months concurrently for tampering with public records, and must pay $60,000 in restitution.

“I would like to apologize to the district attorney, my co-workers and the court,” Smith said in August, wiping away tears. “A lot of trust was placed in me and I failed horribly. I am truly sorry.”

Smith’s remorse, combined with her lack of a criminal record, her willingness to pay back the money and medical problems that might be compromised by her time in prison, all factored into the sentence, according to Somerset County Superior Court Justice Robert Mullen.

Officials began investigating following the apparent loss of $300 in supervision fees in October 2014. An audit determined that receipt books were missing. Smith did not follow routine procedure and paper-clip the money together to prevent the bills getting mixed with other money and did not place a sticky note on the money indicating who paid and how much, authorities said.

The investigation led Maloney to tell employees to stop taking cash and personal check payments at her office.

Doug Harlow can be contacted at 612-2367 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: Doug_Harloww

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