AZTEC — A woman pleaded no contest in district court last week to stealing tens of thousands of dollars from her mother-in-law over the course of six months.
Debbie Lefebre-Lambert, of Farmington, is facing up to nine years in prison when she is sentenced next month. But it's unlikely she will receive a lengthy prison sentence if she provides the court with a payment plan for her restitution, said San Juan County Chief Deputy District Attorney Brent Capshaw.
Lefebre-Lambert, 54, was arrested in July 2012 on suspicion of stealing more than $70,000 from her mother-in-law, Pamela Lambert, of Bloomfield.
Lefebre-Lambert and her attorney disputed the amount of money that was taken.
Bloomfield police charged Lefebre-Lambert with 111 felonies, including 49 counts of unlawful withdrawal from a financial institution and 50 counts of identity theft.
Police said Lefebre-Lambert gained access to her mother-in-law's bank account and made dozens of withdrawals from December 2011 to June 2012.
She then altered Lambert's bank statements with correction fluid and put them in her mailbox to avoid suspicion, according to court documents.
Lefebre-Lambert allegedly used the money to go to Disneyland, travel on cruise ships, purchase jewelry, upgrade her tanning bed and pay bills, according to court documents. Those expenses totaled up to about $36,000.
She was originally held in jail for 80 days on a $565,000 cash-only bond that was canceled, and she was released on Oct. 10.
As a condition of her plea agreement, Lefebre-Lambert pleaded guilty to six fourth-degree felonies that each carry a possible 18-month prison sentence, adding up to nine years if the sentences are served consecutively.
The agreement also states that Lefebre-Lambert pay her mother-in-law $37,500 in restitution.
District Judge John Dean accepted Lefebre-Lambert's plea agreement on Friday and convicted her of the felonies.
Her sentencing hearing was put off for one month for Lefebre-Lambert to create a payment plan she will provide to the court at her hearing. Lambert is also expected to speak to Dean before he hands down a sentence, according to court documents.
The district attorney's office does not oppose Lefebre-Lambert be sentenced to probation if she pays restitution, according to court documents.
"You're not going to pay restitution if you're incarcerated," said Arlon Stoker, Lefebre-Lambert's attorney. "I think she'll be able to put together a plan. She's willing to pay the restitution."
Ryan Boetel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505-564-4644. Follow him on Twitter @roboetel