Former Gretna City Administrator Colleen Lawry pleaded no contest Friday to three misdemeanor charges as part of a plea bargain to settle a criminal case over her misuse of city finances.
Sarpy County District Judge David Arterburn, who then found her guilty, told Lawry that she could face up to 2½ years in prison when she returns for sentencing Dec. 3, or the judge could place Lawry on probation.
As part of the plea agreement, the County Attorney's Office reduced two of her felony theft charges to misdemeanor theft counts. Lawry also entered a no contest plea to her other misdemeanor charge, official misconduct.
Lawry, 49, declined to comment as she left the courthouse.
Her lawyer, Mike Munch, told the judge that “it was in her best interests” to reach the plea agreement with prosecutors. Lawry has made full restitution, said Stephanie Hansen, deputy county attorney, in a written statement.
Lawry was fired in April and charged with felony theft after misusing nearly $1,000 from a Gretna senior citizens fund. The charge was filed after prosecutors said she made purchases with the senior citizens funds at several stores, including Victoria's Secret and a liquor store.
In June, prosecutors added two additional charges: official misconduct and felony theft by deception.
Prosecutors alleged that Lawry received more than $3,000 in overpayments for educational reimbursements from the City of Gretna while attending Bellevue University. Gretna's policy allowed officials to be reimbursed for 50 percent of their tuition-related costs for continuing education, Deputy County Attorney Nicole Hutter told the court.
The official misconduct charge was filed because Lawry “knowingly violated the theft statute” in her capacity as city administrator.
Hutter told the court Friday that Lawry made about 30 separate purchases totaling $5,000 for personal items that were not authorized by the City of Gretna.
Lawry still faces a misdemeanor charge of transferring a firearm without a certificate.
Prosecutors say she received a gun from former Bellevue Police Chief John Stacey and did not have proper documentation.
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