Accused therapist pleads guilty

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SANDPOINT — A Naples autism therapist accused of stealing from her clients is pleading guilty to grand theft, 1st District Court records show.

Krista Louise Kreiger-Hurst entered into a plea agreement earlier this month as her case moved closer to a jury trial. In exchange for a plea of guilt to grand theft, a second grand theft count and two counts of criminal possession of a financial transaction card, court records show.

Kreiger-Hurst, 49, faces up to 14 years in prison when she’s sentenced on Dec. 17. However, the state is recommending a 30-day custodial sentence at the Bonner County Jail and two years of supervised probation, according to the plea agreement. Kreiger-Hurst is free to argue for a lesser sentence and the state will not object to a withheld judgment, which means the felony conviction could be removed from her record upon successful completion of her court-ordered obligations.

Kreiger-Hurst is free on bond while awaiting sentencing.

Kreiger is accused of unlawfully obtaining a woman’s financial transaction card last year and running up $3,193 in fraudulent charges at local and online businesses, in addition to cash withdrawals, according to a Ponderay Police affidavit.

Police cued up video of an ATM withdrawal and observed a woman with a coat zipped all the way to the top and a flu mask. The alleged victim crumpled to the floor as she immediately recognized the woman as her daughters’ autism therapist, the affidavit said.

Kreiger-Hurst was confronted about the thefts and allegedly confessed, saying that she was having a hard time making ends meet, according to the affidavit. During her arrest, a personal journal was recovered and it contained entries acknowledging that she stole and manipulated so she could gamble.

Kreiger-Hurst is further accused to stealing a Sagle woman’s debit card in January. The card was used to make fraudulent purchases, court records indicate. The Sagle woman described Kreiger-Hurst as her former caregiver.

Keith Kinnaird can be reached by email at kkinnaird@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow him on Twitter @KeithDailyBee.

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