Judge shows charity towards thieving Goodwill employee

Laurie M. Diaz

Laurie M. Diaz

— A 45-year-old Goodwill employee who embezzled $5,200 just days before Christmas has been sentenced to probation and given a chance at avoiding a criminal record.

Collier Circuit Judge Frank Baker sentenced Laurie M. Diaz, of 1466 San Marco, Marco Island, to two years of probation and agreed to withhold an adjudication of guilt. That means if she successfully completes all conditions of probation, she won't have a criminal conviction for grand theft.

The judge ordered her to pay what she stole from Goodwill through monthly payments of $250 and barred her from going near the store at 1687 Pine Ridge Road. She can apply to terminate probation after serving half if she fully reimburses Goodwill.

Diaz, who had no record, faced up to five years in a state prison for the third-degree felony, but was sentenced as part of a plea agreement negotiated by the prosecutor and public defender. She was arrested on Dec. 19 and has been free on $2,500 bond ever since.

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