FAIRBANKS (AP) -- She was a welfare cheat on the other side of the counter whose crime was uncovered by a hospital security guard.
Now former welfare worker Shelley Addy, 30, will serve up to six months in jail and pay restitution for her theft.
In a plea agreement Friday in Superior Court, Addy agreed to come up with several thousands of dollars in restitution for the money she stole by using other people's welfare debit cards. The plea deal calls for up to six months in prison, and she could also be fined.
The theft came to light after a Fairbanks Memorial Hospital security guard found five Alaska Quest debit cards in Addy's purse when she was admitted after a car accident May 18. She had just driven her Isuzu Rodeo onto a concrete barrier.
Addy was charged with obtaining debit cards illegally and using them to obtain cash and property from several local stores between January and May 2001.
''It appears that there was at least $2,190 in benefits she obtained for herself,'' said prosecuting attorney Scott Mattern at Friday's Superior Court hearing.
According to Fairbanks Police Detective Aaron Ring, some of the cards found in Addy's purse had been returned to the office after their holders got off welfare.
Addy was accused of theft and tampering with public records. On Friday, she agreed to plead no contest to the theft charge with the rest of the charges dismissed.
A second-degree theft conviction normally carries a jail sentence of up to five years. As part of the agreement, Addy will serve at most six months in prison, though the total sentence including suspended time could still be five years.
Addy testified at the hearing by telephone. Court documents say she lived in Fairbanks at the time of the allegations but has since moved to the Anchorage area. She will have to return to Fairbanks for her sentencing, scheduled for April 4.
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