SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — A former employee of a school bus contractor here was sentenced to one year in prison on Monday for stealing more than $500,000 from the company, Argus Leader reports.

Crystal Neuman’s defense lawyer said that she started embezzling money from School Bus Inc. after getting divorced in 2006, and continued to write extra checks to herself over the next 10 years, according to the newspaper. At that point, she had been promoted to the position of account manager, and was able to sign company checks. At times, she paid herself $6,000 more per paycheck than she had earned.

Neuman’s ongoing theft impacted payments in profit-sharing credits for about half of the company’s 175 employees, and was in part the cause of the company taking out small loans to cover operating costs, Argus Leader reports. She reportedly used the money she stole to pay for expenses for various family members.

Neuman had been hired by School Bus Inc. in 1998 after being recommended by Don Dunham of Dunham Companies, according to the newspaper. She had allegedly stolen $900 from that company, but repaid it and wasn’t charged with a crime. Because School Bus Inc. knew about the previous alleged theft, said Steve Hey, the company’s president, its insurance provider will not cover the funds stolen from his company, Argus Leader reports.

In addition to the prison sentence, Neuman is being asked to repay the total amount stolen, $537,460, according to the newspaper.

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