The embezzlement case against a former employee of Southpaw's Perfect Pizza & Sports Pub appears to be heading toward a plea deal.
Courtney L. Braun, 29, of Corvallis worked as a waitress and bartender at the North Albany sports bar until March 23, when she was arrested on allegations of stealing thousands of dollars from her employer.
Braun was initially arraigned on two theft charges in April but was back in Benton County Circuit Court on Monday, where she appeared by phone before Judge Matthew Donohue for arraignment on a grand jury indictment that replaced one of the original charges and added five new ones.
The indictment charges Braun with one count of first-degree aggravated theft and five counts of first-degree theft, alleging that she stole more than $10,000 from Southpaws over a 13-month period dating back to February 2017.
All the charges are felonies. The maximum penalty for aggravated theft in the first degree is 10 years in prison.
Braun’s defense attorney, Dan Armstrong, entered not guilty pleas on her behalf but indicated that he was negotiating with the prosecution on a plea agreement for his client.
Deputy Benton County District Attorney Kevin Hashizume is representing the state in the case.
Judge Donohue scheduled a plea and sentencing hearing for 2 p.m. on Feb. 22. If a plea deal is not reached, a 12-person jury trial has been tentatively scheduled for two days starting March 4.
The exact amount of money in question is not spelled out in court documents and has not been revealed by police. However, Southpaw's owner Christopher Reese said on Monday that the total is roughly $20,000 and possibly more.
"I'm sure the settlement is going to be considerably less than what she owes me," Reese told the newspaper on Monday.
"The most important thing to me is for her to be held accountable in court."
Southpaw's, located at 560 Hickory St. NW, opened in fall 2016.