Wednesday, October 23, 2002
By CANELA WOOD
A Hood River woman was given prison time and a hefty fine on Friday for embezzling funds from a Wilsonville business.
Vicki Lynn Lee, of Hood River, was sentenced in federal court to 27 months in prison. She was also ordered to pay $267,635 and given three years of supervised parole.
Lee was arrested by IRS agents at her home in December of 2001 for illegal use of health benefit funds and filing a false tax return. Her arrest came after she made no attempt to pay back the misappropriated funds or amend false information listed on her 1997 tax form.
In June, Lee pled guilty to the charges filed against her. She admitted that while she was the owner of New Steps Billing in Wilsonville, she withheld over $190,000 of funding during a four-year period from a health care benefit program that should have been used to reimburse medical care providers for services.
Prior to her arrest, Lee was last employed at Hood River Physical Therapy. IRS Special Agent Kathleen Sulmonetti said citizens convicted of violating tax laws are required to pay back the total amount due plus all interest and assessed civil penalties.
The felony case against Lee was investigated by special agents of the IRS Criminal Investigation and Health and Human Services. The prosecution was handled by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Portland.
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Lawnmower torches Arbor Vitae on Portland Drive
The riding lawn mower driven by Norma Cannon overheated and made contact with dry arbor vitae owned by Lee and Norma Curtis, sending more than a dozen of the tightly-packed trees up in flames. The mower, visible at far right, was totaled. No one was injured; neighbors first kept the fire at bay with garden hoses and Westside and Hood River Fire Departments responded and doused the fire before it reached any structures. Westside Fire chief Jim Trammell, in blue shirt, directs firefighters. The video was taken by Capt. Dave Smith of Hood River Fire Department. Enlarge