FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --A former deputy director of Caltrans received her punishment Tuesday for embezzling thousands of dollars of taxpayer money. Christine Cox-Kovacevich avoided jail time-- though attorneys said she has already paid back most of what she stole.
The thousands of dollars siphoned was from the agency responsible for managing the state highway system.
The judge determined Cox-Kovacevich will spend three years on probation for pleading to two felony embezzlement charges.
"She'll do no custody other than the credit for the four days she's done. The balance 96 days will be hanging over her head in the event she violates probation any time," said David Mugridge, defense attorney.
Ninety-eight total charges were dropped against Cox-Kovacevich as a result of the agreement. Her attorney said she has already paid the $15,000 in restitution.
Cox-Kovacevich was arrested back in January after a lengthy investigation revealed she had filed more than a 100 fake expense reports. Prosecutors believe the embezzlement happened over a four-year time period. Her attorney claims the crimes were a result of a common practice at Caltrans-- sloppy bookkeeping with no checks and balances.
"She acknowledges that she did wrong. She regrets it tremendously, but it may not be the last of these kind of cases unless the administration at Caltrans changes their policies," said Mugridge.
Cox-Kovacevich still has work to do as she also has to complete 200 hours of community service supervised by a probation officer.
"As part of the consequence of it having some type of community service. Giving back to the community in addition to paying full restitution was important," said Robert Mangano, prosecutor.
If Cox-Kovacevich obeys the terms of her probation her attorney said they will go back to court in two years where she hopes to get the crime removed from her record.