A 44-year-old Berlin Center woman has pleaded guilty as charged to a single count of grand theft from Nicolinni’s Ristorante in Boardman.
Kimberly A. Hladun, of Duck Creek Road, a 15-year restaurant employee, entered her plea Thursday before Judge James C. Evans of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, who will sentence her at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 23.
By enter- ing her plea to the fourth- degree felony, Hladun admitted stealing more than $5,000, but not more than $100,000, from the business between June 1, 2006, and April 30, 2009.
The restaurant management estimates the theft at about $80,000. Nicolinni’s also has an Austintown location.
In the criminal case, Nicholas E. Modarelli, an assistant county prosecutor, recommended that Hladun be placed on probation and ordered to give the restaurant $1,000 in restitution, which is the amount of the restaurant’s insurance deductible.
Modarelli said, however, the restaurant’s insurance company is expected to file a civil lawsuit against Hladun to collect the remainder of the stolen money.
Hladun, who was arrested by Boardman police a year ago after a nearly nine-month investigation, remains free on $8,000 bond pending sentencing.
When the county grand jury indicted Hladun last March, Patrick Lavanty, restaurant owner, expressed “anger and disappointment” at Hladun’s conduct and urged that she be prosecuted to the “furthest extent of the law.”
The maximum penalty the law allows for the charge, to which Hladun pleaded guilty, is 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Hladun’s lawyer, Scott Cochran, said his client has no prior criminal record. He added that Ohio’s new sentencing law, which took effect last fall, calls for probation, rather than prison, for low-level felony offenders without prior criminal records.