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A 24-year-old woman who worked as an office manager for a dentist in Roseville has been sentenced to one year in the Placer County jail for embezzling more than $47,000.

Holly Ann Keate of Rocklin was also placed on five years probation and ordered to pay back $47,431 to the dental office by Placer County Superior Court Judge Colleen Nichols. The sentencing took place on Nov. 12.

Keate’s former employer, Dr. Thomas Schlehofer, wrote in a letter to the judge that the defendant deceived people ‘with her power of authority over patients.’

‘She has abused her managerial position with malicious neglect of patients, their personal files, their credit cards and their cash,’ the dentist wrote. ‘She preyed on the senior citizens of our community knowing they did not have insurance and would pay cash.’

Schlehofer wrote that Keate also caused coworkers to miss out on bonuses while she lied to him about employees’ performances and that the loss of the $47,431 ‘nearly collapsed the office.’

In addition, because of the lost funds, the dental office was unable to send money to sponsored charities such as an orphanage, he wrote.

Schlehofer wrote that Keate used the embezzled money to take vacations and to have laser treatment and elective plastic surgery.

According to prosecutor Joseph Hoffmann, Keate embezzled the money from Aug. 25, 2008, until Jan. 22, 2009.

Roseville police investigated the case, obtained an arrest warrant and apprehended her on April 18 as she was about to board an airplane at Sacramento International Airport for a vacation in Hawaii.

In September, Keate entered a plea of no contest to a charge of grand theft by embezzlement.

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