A courtroom gallery let loose two murmurs Friday.
The first came when prosecutors announced the amount of money a Gretna woman is accused of embezzling: $4.1 million.
The second came when the judge didn’t set a bail amount.
Douglas County Judge Thomas Harmon released Caroline K. Richardson, 55, on her own recognizance after prosecutors discussed the theft of millions from Colombo Candy & Tobacco.
Richardson’s attorney, James Schaefer, noted that Richardson — the former controller at the Omaha distributor — has no criminal record and has attended every court hearing in a companion case.
Richardson is scheduled to be sentenced Monday in Sarpy County District Court. She faces up to five years in prison or five years’ probation after pleading guilty to three counts of tax evasion.
Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine added three counts of theft Friday. Richardson would face up to 20 years in prison if convicted on each of those counts.
The case was first reported in The World-Herald after Colombo and owner Monte Brown filed two civil lawsuits over the multimillion-dollar theft — lawsuits indicating that Richardson admitted to embezzling the money from 2010 to 2012.
Despite reportedly admitting to that theft and a $109,000 theft from a previous employer, Richardson hadn’t faced theft charges until Friday.
Kleine has said his office initially was hampered because no one from Colombo filed a police report on the theft. However, a report has since been filed, and Kleine has met with Brown and his wife, Jenise.
Schaefer said Friday he didn’t know whether the filing of charges would affect Richardson’s cooperation in Colombo’s two ongoing lawsuits against the boss who recommended hiring her and the casino where she gambled.
The lawsuit against Ameristar Casino relied heavily on Richardson’s detailed description of her gambling habits and the casino’s treatment of her.
“I don’t know what her position is on that now,” Schaefer said.