Jessica Marie Diller was sentenced on July 12, 2017 for theft in a common scheme and theft by embezzlement, both felonies. She was first charged of the former on March 1, 2016 and the latter on Oct. 31, 2016.
She received concurrent deferred six-year sentences and was ordered to pay restitution of more than $25,000.
According to documents filed in the case of theft in a common scheme, Diller reported working 324 hours and receiving $5,469 in wages. However, her employer, Project Resources, reported that between Jan. 12, 2013 and July 30, 2013, Diller worked 1,067 hours and received $22,890. As a result of filing these unemployment insurance claims, Diller received $9,086 in unemployment insurance benefits when she was entitled to receive only $1,232. Diller received $7,854 in benefits she was not entitled to. The total debt for the overpayment was $10,445.82, which included a 33 percent penalty of $2,591.82.
According to documents filed in the case of theft by embezzlement, issuing a bad check and another charge of issuing a bad check, Diller was reported as working at Ace Hardware in Libby when Libby Police Officer John Powell went there to investigate a report of employee theft. It was discovered that Diller was floating her own personal checks for cash when making deposits for Ace. Powell obtained a list of checks from Diller’s bank account that she had floated through deposits at Ace Hardware. Many of the checks had cleared the bank although two checks totaling $4,800 were returned on Diller’s account due to insufficient funds.
In addition to the floated insufficient checks, Ace Hardware owner Tom Gilmore learned that the PRI account, an account opened in June 2012 on behalf of Diller by the local asbestosis abatement organization, had some charges and inconsistencies. The account had a charging limit of $1,031. After a period of dormancy on this account Diller began charging against the account after being hired in July 2013. The account accumulated an additional amount of $7,000. Diller made a false credit to the account bringing the total back down to the chargeable limit. One large charge on the account was for a gun safe. In addition to the charges, items charge were discounted up to 50 percent. Diller gave Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Detective Dave Hall permission to search her residence. The search revealed numerous items listed that had been charged to the PRI account and a gun safe was also located.
A subpoena was issued for First Montana Bank, requesting records for Diller’s bank account. All the checks issued to Ace Hardware during Diller’s employment had cleared except the two checks totaling $4,800. Diller’s account also showed cash deposits totaling $41,535 during the period of time, during which Ace Hardware experienced deposit shortfalls of $100 to $500. During Diller’s employment the till shortages added up to $8,374, not including any shortages under $20.
After several months of investigation and interviews with Ace Hardware employees, police arrested Diller, who was later charged with one felony count of theft by embezzlement and two misdemeanor charges of issuing bad checks.
Diller’s sentence on the offense of theft in a common scheme was a deferred imposition of sentence for six years to run concurrent with the sentence in the Ace Hardware case. Diller is ordered to pay restitution to the Montana Department of Labor and Industry, Unemployment Insurance Division in the amount of $8,118.30 plus 10 percent interest on or before May 22, 2023.
The sentence on theft by embezzlement was also a deferred imposition of sentence for six years to run concurrent with the sentence in the unemployment case. Diller was ordered to pay restitution to the ACE Home Center in the amount of $2,604.26 and Liberty Mutual Insurance in the amount of $13,880 for a total restitution amount of $16,484.26 plus 10 percent interest on or before May 22, 2023.
Diller was also ordered to be supervised by the Department of Corrections and to follow the standard terms and conditions of probation on both felonies.