A woman who was on probation for stealing from her Leawood employer stole nearly $300,000 from her next job at a Kansas City nonprofit and was sentenced Monday to eight years in federal prison.
Tonya Topel, 40, of North Kansas City, stole the money over a five-year period while working for the nonprofit Construction Benefits Audit Corporation, known as CBAC.
Topel earned a yearly salary of about $68,000 while embezzling the money from 2012 until she was caught in 2016, according to terms of her plea agreement with prosecutors.
Before working for CBAC, Topel was prosecuted in Johnson County for stealing from a previous employer in Leawood, Preferred Contracting Systems, according to court documents.
The case in Johnson County was pending when she started working for and began stealing from CBAC, federal prosecutors said.
She was placed on probation in the Johnson County case and used money taken from CBAC to pay some of her restitution in that case.
Topel also paid her attorney in the Johnson County case with a CBAC credit card, according to prosecutors.
After her embezzlement was discovered by CBAC, Topel claimed that she had cervical cancer and took the money to pay for her medical treatment.
However, officials found "zero credible evidence" that she actually had cancer, prosecutors said in a sentencing memo.
The memo also notes that CBAC reimbursed Topel for college classes, but officials later could find no evidence that she had actually enrolled.
And a company that Topel went to work for after leaving CBAC reported the theft of $26,000. The money was found missing a few days after Topel left the company, according to the memo.
No charges have been filed in that case.
In the case that Topel was sentenced for Monday, she previously pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.
Besides using the stolen money to pay for trips to Hawaii and the Bahamas, she also bought Royals tickets, a 2014 Ford Mustang, jewelry, dance classes, clothing, groceries and electronic equipment, according to her plea agreement.
As part of Monday's sentencing, Topel was ordered to pay $293,193 in restitution.