9th Circuit Upholds Sentence for Employee Theft

December 1, 2008

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has denied the appeal of a Helena, Mont., woman, sentenced to four years in prison for stealing from her employer.

Margaret Blixt was convicted of mail fraud and aggravated identity theft last year.

The appellate panel upheld the conviction and sentence.

Blixt, now 45, stole nearly $158,000 from Atlanta-based Crawford & Co., an insurance-claims management business with an office in Helena.

She received payments due Crawford, deposited them in a Helena bank, and wrote unauthorized checks to herself between March 2003 and August 2004, forging her boss’s signature.

Her actions were discovered after Valley Bank questioned some transactions.

Blixt appealed some evidentiary rulings by the trial court, various jury instructions and the court’s decision not to depart downward in the sentence because of diminished mental capacity.

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