A woman has pleaded guilty to 48 counts of forgery and theft for crimes she committed while working for a Leavenworth County company.
Jaime L. Warhurst, 36, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Leavenworth County District Court. Forty-five of the charges are for forgery. She also pleaded guilty to two theft charges and one count of attempted theft.
The crimes occurred in 2010 and 2011.
As part of a plea agreement, there will be a recommendation for a 30-month prison sentence.
Warhurst was the payroll accountant for National Cold Storage in southeast Leavenworth County.
According to a stipulation of facts that was presented in court, Warhurst stole $34,592 by forging signatures on payroll checks from National Cold Storage.
She forged the name of a manager who was the primary authorized signee for the account. She also forged the signatures of other employees to endorse the checks to her.
At least 56 forged checks were cashed over the course of a year.
Representatives from National Cold Storage reported the series of forgeries and thefts to law enforcement in July 2011.
Warhurst fled from Kansas before she could be arrested. After fleeing the state, she reportedly accessed several accounts she had set up while working for National Cold Storage. She withdrew another $5,355 of company funds from these accounts. She later attempted to withdraw an additional $20,633 but a bank denied these transactions, according to the stipulation of facts and a news release from the Leavenworth County Attorney's Office.
Over the next two years, Warhurst traveled to Mississippi, New Mexico, Arizona and finally to Utah, where she was arrested after a high-speed, long-distance car chase that ended in an armed standoff lasting several hours, according to the news release.
Warhurst, who previously lived in Parker, made her first court appearance in the Leavenworth County case in July after waiving extradition from Utah, according to court records and defense attorney Kevin Reardon.
Warhurst had been scheduled to have a preliminary hearing Tuesday. But she waived the requirement for the hearing because a plea agreement had been reached with Assistant County Attorney Adam Zentner.
Warhurst signed a copy of the plea agreement in court Tuesday. District Judge Gunnar Sundby took a brief recess in order to read the plea agreement and stipulation of facts.
When he returned, Sundby reviewed the possible sentences Warhurst could face.
"I'm not bound by that (plea) agreement," Sundby said.
The judge said he can impose a shorter or longer sentence than the 30 months that will be recommended as part of the agreement.
Sundby asked Warhurst how she pleaded to each of the 48 charges. For each charge, Warhurst said, "guilty."
Page 2 of 2 - Warhurst had been charged with a total of 72 counts, but 24 of the charges were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.
"I cannot sentence you today," Sundby said. "The law requires a pre-sentencing report."
Sundby scheduled sentencing for Dec. 18.
Reardon said his client would accept an earlier sentencing date if one is available.
Sundby said the pre-sentencing report will take time because there are 48 counts. But he said the sentencing can be held early if the report is completed in time and the attorneys are available.
Warhurst remained in custody of the Leavenworth County Jail Tuesday.