Crime

Accountant at JBLM hotel sentenced to 2 years in prison for theft

An accountant who worked at a military hotel on Joint Base Lewis-McChord was sentenced Friday to two years in prison for embezzling more than $250,000 from the government.

In accepting the sentencing recommendation of federal prosecutors, U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton said Gail Moody, a 52-year-old Tacoma woman, “violated a position of trust. ... It’s a lot of money. It’s a lot of deception.”

Defense attorney Miriam Schwartz had asked for a sentence of six months in prison followed by six months of home detention, saying her client’s gambling addiction had gotten her into trouble.

In a letter to the court, Moody said she was ashamed of what she’d done.

“A day does not go by that I do not deeply regret taking money that was not mine,” she wrote. “I have disappointed my family to no end.”

Moody was hired in 1985 to work as a desk clerk at the Rainier Inn, which is operated by the Department of Defense.

She eventually became an accountant for the hotel and was in charge of cash receipts and making deposits to the Armed Forces Bank.

In 2012, Moody took an extended leave, and other employees noticed “significant discrepancies regarding the cash receipts and what had been deposited into the hotel bank accounts,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

An investigation found Moody altered records to hide the fact she was diverting hotel payments to her own use. She quit when confronted.

Hotel profits are supposed to be funneled back into the facilities so the Defense Department can offer low-cost lodging for military members and their families, officials said.

Leighton ordered Moody to get treatment for her gambling addiction after she serves her time in prison.

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