May 17, 2012
An Omaha accountant was sentenced to three years of probation Monday after pleading no contest to stealing nearly $6,000 from a Gretna business.
Celeste Baumert, who had faced up to 20 years in prison, sobbed throughout most of the sentencing proceeding.
Douglas County District Judge Thomas A. Otepka said Baumert must adhere to stringent probation guidelines, including attending two Alcoholics Anonymous meetings per week and undergoing assessments of her mental health and gambling problem.
In return for her plea, prosecutors agreed to drop a theft charge in a second case, in which Baumert was accused of taking more than $50,000 from an Omaha security company, where she had kept the books.
The owners of both businesses pleaded for Otepka to sentence Baumert to more than probation.
Outside the courtroom, Dan Kaiser of Delta Security Specialists said, “We don’t feel justice was served today.”
Both businesses told the court they have issues with the IRS, allegedly due to Baumert’s accounting practices, and Kaiser cited expensive legal fees.
“She’s ruined two businesses,” but there’s nothing to prevent Baumert from continuing her accounting company, Kaiser said.
Baumert’s attorney said she has paid $11,000 in restitution.
Nebraska State Patrol investigators said Baumert ran up more than $243,000 in losses at Council Bluffs casinos.
She once was pictured on a Las Vegas casino website with a giant cardboard check for $204,000, her winnings at a slot machine.