A Central Point bookkeeper was sentenced to three years in prison and was ordered to pay back more than a quarter-million dollars she embezzled from local business owners who entrusted her while unwittingly fueling her lavish lifestyle.
Under a plea deal, Jodi Lynne Setzer, 42, pleaded guilty Monday in Jackson County Circuit Court to two counts of aggravated identity theft, six counts of aggravated theft and two counts of first-degree theft stemming from two different cases.
In addition to the prison sentence, Judge Lorenzo Mejia ordered Setzer to serve two years' probation and to pay more than $263,000 to the bilked business owners, who include a local event planner and a dentist who considered her a good friend.
Setzer was taken into custody immediately after the brief 11 a.m. hearing.
Most embezzlement cases like these are tied to people with drug, alcohol or gambling problems, but those vices were not in Setzer's background, Jackson County Assistant District Attorney Jeremy Markiewicz said outside of court.
In Setzer's case, she skimmed money from her employers to live a few notches above what she could earn legitimately, Markiewicz said.
She had a child at one time in a Medford private school and had a pool built in her backyard, according to investigators.
"It was feeding a lifestyle that she really didn't have enough money for," Markiewicz said.
"In a lot of these cases, you have people who tend to have their vices," he said. "She's not the typical person to do this."
However, Setzer's case started as a drug investigation in July 2012 when the dentist for whom she worked as a bookkeeper suspected Setzer was using the dentist's identity to obtain fraudulent prescriptions for the drug hydrocodone, commonly known by the trade name Vicodin.
Investigators later learned through the Oregon Prescription Drug Monitoring Program that she had forged about 150 prescriptions for about 7,800 hydrocodone doses.
When she and husband Jason Setzer were arrested two weeks later, police found no illegal prescription drugs in their possession, so their case was handled as theft and record tampering, Markiewicz said.
Investigators discovered Setzer used electronic transfers from her employer's account to pay her personal bills, investigators said.
That employer alone saw almost $205,000 siphoned from her business account by Setzer between April 2007 and April 2012, according to prosecutors. Setzer worked for that dentist for 13 years, prosecutors said.
"She was stealing money from a lot of people for a lot longer time than she was getting hydrocodone," Markiewicz said.
Setzer's bank records also revealed that she stole money in similar fashion from two other victims, identified by investigators as a local event planner and a Rainier attorney.
Jason Setzer has an Aug. 13 court hearing scheduled for a change of plea in his case. He faces four counts of aggravated identity theft for his alleged part in the prescription medication fraud, court records show.
Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or email at email@example.com.