BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) – A Linton woman pleaded guilty Monday and was sentenced by a district court judge for stealing money from a Mandan tattoo shop in November 2020.

According to the affidavit, 27-year-old Andrea Lawler worked at the shop and, with 27-year-old Alex Dauenhauer, used fraudulent methods to steal thousands of dollars from the parlor. Court documents initially reported the pair stole more than $10,000, but prosecutors said an investigation revealed thousands more dollars were stolen.

At a change of plea hearing for Lawler, attorneys proposed a plea deal.

Morton County State’s Attorney Gabrielle Goter stated that it is important to make the victim whole, especially as a small business was impacted while dealing with pandemic-related shutdowns.

Defense Attorney Robert Quick said Lawler has been making progress fighting an addiction that played a role in the crime.

The victim said he felt Lawler’s apology was mainly “because she got caught.” He stated that, “[the punishment] has to sting a little or we are just going to make her a smarter criminal.”

Judge Pam Nesvig accepted the plea agreement and sentenced Lawler to 360 days with all, but time served, suspended. Lawler will have two years of supervised probation and must pay half of more than $51,000 in restitution within 30 days of the sentence. Co-defendant Dauenhauer must pay the other half. Lawler said that her family will be helping her pay.

According to Judge Nesvig, embezzlement has become more frequent. She said Lawler will go to prison if she “messes up on probation” because the court needs to send a clear message.

In January, co-defendant Dauenhauer was sentenced to 10 years, with seven years suspended.

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