LOGAN — A 40-year-old Smithfield woman has been sentenced to 45 days in jail for stealing thousands of dollars from her family for her own use. Melissa A. Niederhauser cried and wiped away tears, while telling the court she is working to pay back the money.
Niederhauser was sentenced during a virtual hearing in 1st District Court Monday morning, appearing by web conference. She previously waived her right to a fair trial and pleaded guilty to theft and unlawful dealing with property by a fiduciary, both second-degree felonies.
Niederhauser had been put in charge of her parents finances while they were overseas. In January 2016, she withdrew more than $128,339 from their accounts and used the money for personal expenses.
Defense attorney Erin Byington asked the court for leniency. She said, “no punishment the court gave Niederhauser could be worse than the punishment she had given herself.”
Byington said Niederhauser was trying to repair the relationships with her family. She is also being treated for an impulsive spending disorder.
Cache County Deputy Attoney Jacob Gordon said, “The betrayal of trust was monumental.” He explained if Niederhauser had been in the federal court system, she would be looking at a lengthy prison sentence.
Niederhauser said she would have $20,000 to return to her family this week. She is also working on refinancing her debt to be able to payback the remaining money.
In addition to the jail term, Judge Brandon Maynard ordered Niederhauser to successfully complete health counseling and treatment.