Former Jackson Co. employee who misused taxpayer money sentenced to prison

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A former Jackson County court administrator convicted of spending thousands of taxpayer dollars on personal items is asking a federal judge to grant probation instead of prison time.

Teresa York, who lost her long-time position with the county in 2012 amidst the cloud of an internal investigation, is scheduled to learn her sentence on Wednesday at the federal courthouse.

In a court document filed on Tuesday , York’s public defender requested leniency, citing a gambling addiction.

“She had an exemplary record and but for the recognized mental illness that she suffers, would never have been drawn to this conduct to satisfy her addiction to gambling,” the legal argument read.

Last November, York admitted to misusing the taxpayer funds for her personal use. Part of the plea deal included nearly $78,000 in restitution.

In 2012, a 41 Action News investigation discovered the fraudulent purchases with York’s court-issued credit card. The review of bank account transactions revealed out-of-town travel, clothing and makeup from Country Club Plaza retailers and $28,000 in gift cards.

Federal prosecutors will also be arguing for more than $60,000 of additional restitution for a contract they say York helped arrange for her boyfriend, who never did any actual work. York’s attorney has claimed that government contract should not be counted toward the restitution amount.

York started working at the courthouse in 1984 and had been court administrator since 2003.

Federal prosecutors are requesting a 27-month prison sentence. However, York’s public defender called that punishment “excessive,” arguing the lesson has been learned.

“The defendant now has a felony conviction, has lost her ability to practice law, has lost her career and has suffered the public embarrassment of her actions,” the document read. “All of which contribute to show the seriousness of this case and has punished her for her conduct.”

Stay with KSHB.com for updates on what happens inside the federal courthouse on Wednesday afternoon.

Ryan Kath can be reached at ryan.kath@kshb.com. You can follow him on Twitter or connect on Facebook .

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