Former Poudre River Library District employee sentenced to probation in theft case
A former Poudre River Public Library District employee and community activist has been sentenced to probation and is required to pay money back to the district after pleading guilty to using her work credit card for about $100,000 of personal expenses over five years.
Johanna Ulloa Girón, formerly the district's outreach services manager, pleaded no contest Wednesday to theft, a Class 4 felony, as part of a plea agreement. A plea of no contest means the defendant does not admit guilt but does receive a sentence for the charge they pleaded no contest to. Other charges were dismissed as part of the agreement.
Ulloa Girón was sentenced to three years of probation and is required to complete 150 hours of community service. While on probation, Ulloa Girón can only use a computer for work and must get a judge's permission to travel internationally.
The agreement requires Ulloa Girón to pay $100,000 in restitution within 30 days, which her attorney Kent Leier said she was prepared to pay in full immediately after Wednesday morning's hearing.
Deputy District Attorney Matthew Pring said $100,000 is the amount "the library determined was appropriate" for Ulloa Girón to repay. Pring said he believed this agreement was fair because Ulloa Girón had to pay restitution up front instead of over time and she will continue to face consequences as a convicted felon.
"Since the beginning of this legal process, the library has focused on reaching an outcome that would recoup library funds and help restore community trust. We are pleased to see the matter concluded, financial restitution paid, and the library made whole," Poudre River Library District Executive Director Diane Lapierre said in an email statement.
Lapierre said the restitution payment was made through the court after Wednesday's hearing, and she expects the money to be disbursed in a few weeks.
"Poudre River Public Library and its Board of Trustees are grateful to the Larimer County District Attorney’s Office and the Fort Collins police department for their work on behalf of the library and the community," Lapierre said in the statement. "We are happy now to return our full attention to serving our community."
A 13-month-long investigation revealed Ulloa Girón spent more than $100,000 of the library district's money on personal purchases from 2016 to 2020. She started with the library in 2013 and became outreach services manager in 2016, according to police.
This case has already affected her employment, Pring said. She resigned from the library district in March 2021, around the same time library staff began investigating her purchases. Ulloa Girón was co-founder of the BIPOC Alliance and advocacy program manager at the Colorado Trust. While she is no longer listed among BIPOC Alliance contacts, Julian Kesner, a spokesperson for the Colorado Trust, said Ulloa Girón was still employed there after her sentencing.
Leier said this case has "taken a toll on (Ulloa Girón) and her family."
"This is a difficult situation, but one you put yourself in when you made a choice,” Chief Judge Susan Blanco said.
Blanco said the library is not a "faceless victim" in this case, and Ulloa Girón's actions impact the entire community.
This article originally appeared on Fort Collins Coloradoan: Former Fort Collins library employee sentenced in $100K theft case