PINEVILLE, Mo. - The wife of a Delaware County commissioner convicted of stealing was ordered to pay her former employer $40,000 back, a prosecutor said Thursday. .

Michelle Crowder, 41, of Grove, pleaded guilty in January in McDonald County Associate Circuit Court in Pineville, Mo., to one count of stealing, a class B felony.

Telephone calls to Charles R. Rhoades, Crowder’s attorney, were not returned.

Crowder has 59 months to pay restitution to Roper Gas Company in Southwest City, said Janice Lynne Durbin, prosecutor.  She was also sentenced to five years probation, she said.

During the two hour hearing Crowder’s accountant argued she stole around $33,000, while the state’s expert argued she stole almost $64,000, Durbin said.

 “The judge split it down the middle and order her to pay $40, 000,” Durbin said. 

At the time the company discovered the second theft, company officials asked Crowder to pay back the money, but Crowder’s husband, Kenneth, offered to pay $35,000 if company officials “would keep it quiet like they did the last theft,” court records show.  

Kenneth Crowder is Delaware County District One County Commissioner.

In an earlier interview Kenneth Crowder declined to discuss the case on the advice of their attorney.

Company officials said they noticed the account receivables were unusually high, so they called for an internal audit which revealed Michelle Crowder was keeping two sets of books and had inflated the accounts receivables to $78,671.26 when they were in reality only $16,038.27, the probable cause statement shows. 

This is Crowder’s second stint at stealing money from Roper Gas.  In 2005, she confessed to stealing between $30,000 and $40,000 from the company for her own person use.  The money was paid back and company officials declined to press charges, court records show.