A former high-ranking Caltrans employee was sentenced Tuesday in Fresno County Superior Court to three years of probation and 200 hours of community service for embezzling about $15,000 from the state agency.
Christine Cox-Kovacevich avoided a jail sentence because she paid back the money she took, said Fresno defense lawyer David Mugridge, who represented Cox-Kovacevich.
Court records say Cox-Kovacevich, 46, of Fresno, was arrested in January and charged with 100 felony counts of embezzlement, forgery, grand theft and making false travel claims. An arrest warrant accused her of filing false reimbursement claims, asking the state to pay for her travel out of town and other expenses when she was in Fresno.
In August, she pleaded guilty to two felony charges of embezzlement by a public employee and agreed to pay $15,000 in restitution, the amount she embezzled from the California Department of Transportation, prosecutor Robert Mangano said. In exchange for her plea, the prosecution dismissed 98 felony charges and agreed to recommending probation, Mugridge said.
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According to her LinkedIn.com page, Cox-Kovacevich worked at Caltrans since 1998 and held a number of positions, including environmental division chief, supervising environmental planner, senior environmental planner and associate environmental planner.
She resigned in September 2015 after she learned she was under investigation by the California Highway Patrol.