Crime & Courts

Dec 3, 2010 2:22 PM by Melissa Anderson (Helena)

Wylie sentenced to prison on embezzlement charges

Heather Wylie of Butte was sentenced to a total of 30 years in prison with ten suspended on embezzlement and attempted theft charges.

Wylie appeared in court on Thursday via video conference from the Montana Women's Prison in Billings.

She was previously sentenced to 20 years in prison for embezzling more than $154,000 from the lawyer she worked for and his clients.

Attorney Dan Sweeney discovered Wylie was requiring clients to pay in cash, which she then pocketed. She also was found guilty of forgery.

Wylie also claimed Sweeney withheld $42,000 in back pay from her.

On Thursday, all parties agreed that Wylie cannot be trusted with money, as she has a history of predatory financial offenses.

Catherine Truman of the Montana Attorney General's office stated, "She actually had face to face encounters with these people and to some was very predatory and contacted them by phone and asked them to come and see her and go to the bank and provide cash to her. That was in the Silver Bow case."

Wylie's Attorney, Brendan McQuillan, told the judge, "I would note that the expert on sentencing, Lori Moore, actually recommended less than the court imposed in Butte of ten years. She has been punished greater than even the expert on sentencing would ultimately attest."

Wylie will have to pay restitution to her victims and comply with 30 conditions before she can be considered for parole.

(October 2009) A Butte woman is behind bars accused of stealing more than $60,000 by forging checks and demanding cash-only transactions from her employer's clients.

Heather Erin Wylie is charged with theft by common scheme and forgery, both felonies. She was arrested Friday morning.

Butte attorney Dan Sweeney reported to police last year that Wylie, a former employee, had stolen money from him, according to an affidavit filed by assistant attorney general Catherine Truman. Wylie worked as a bookkeeper for Sweeney and was solely responsible for depositing income.

Court records state that when Sweeney returned to his office following an illness in the fall of 2007, he was informed that Wylie was requiring clients to pay in cash only. Ten individuals are reported as paying a combined total of around $14,000 in cash to Wylie to have Sweeney represent them. However, Sweeney states he had no record of them being clients.

Also, Wylie is accused of forging checks, and an audit reportedly revealed $52,000 was used in casinos. The auditor also found that from December 2004 to April 2008 Wylie had taken approximately $47,000 from Sweeney in unauthorized pay, reimbursements, payroll advances, deposits and checks.

Wylie's bond is set at $75,000.

Conway says the investigation is ongoing and involves Butte detectives and the Montana Department of Criminal Investigation.