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BREAKING NEWS

Waters reaches plea deal; to be sentenced March 28

By Staff | Mar 7, 2011

Patricia Waters

A 53-year-old Blue Earth woman has reached a plea agreement on charges of stealing gift cards while employed at United Hospital District in Blue Earth.

On Monday, Patricia Jean Waters pleaded guilty to gross misdemeanor theft in Faribault County District Court.

As a result of the plea bargain, a felony count of financial transaction card fraud was dismissed.

Defense attorney Bill Grogin told Judge Douglas Richards the prosecution has agreed any jail time will be stayed.

County Attorney Troy Timmerman says he has talked with the victims and they believe the plea agreement was the best way to resolve the case.

Before entering a plea, Grogin questioned his client.

Waters admitted to taking the gift cards from the hospital’s gift shop and using them.

According to a court complaint, on Aug. 12 a total of 75 gift cards totaling $750 were purchased from Wal-Mart, Kwik Trip and Juba’s for the gift shop.

The cards are given to patients and are kept locked in a cabinet, according to court papers.

Kwik Trip corporate office employee, says the complaint, reported five of the cards had been used at the Blue Earth store and several were used in Owatonna on Aug. 12.

Two photographs from the Owatonna store reportedly show Waters using six of the cards. Also, receipts and video provided by Wal-Mart show the cards were used to buy items at the stores in Albert Lea and Owatonna.

Court documents say it is “clear in the video that Waters was the person making the purchases in Blue Earth.”

When authorities interviewed Waters on Sept. 14 she admitted using the cards, but told them another UHD?employee stole them.

The maximum sentence for gross misdemeanor theft is one year and a $3,000 fine.

Richards has ordered a pre-sentence investigation before Waters is sentenced on March 28.