Confessed Crescent embezzler wins appeal of $204,000 restitution order

January 17, 2014 

The Idaho Court of Appeals Friday largely upheld a confessed embezzler’s challenge of her restitution order, and the issue of how much the former bartender and bookkeeper should pay will go back to 4th District Court.

Kristi L. "Cookie" Hurles, a longtime employee of Crescent “No Lawyers” Bar and Grill, pleaded guilty to one count of grand theft in February 2011. That May, she was sentenced to serve two to 14 years in prison. She is now free on parole.

Her appeal focused on an order that she pay $204,174.61 in restitution, including attorney fees of $48,734.61. Hurles argued, and the court agreed, that the district court abused its discretion by ordering Hurles to repay money taken between 2005 and 2010, when Hurles only pleaded guilty to taking funds during a much shorter period — December 2008 to December 2009.

The appeals court reversed the restitution for embezzlement and for lawyers’ fees on the restitution case. They upheld the portion of the lawyer fees connected to Hurles’ bankruptcy proceeding.

The issue of how much restitution Hurles must pay now will be decided in district court, and the appeals court stressed that the new restitution order must be limited to the time period in which Hurles admitted guilt.

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