A woman who used to work inside Casper City Hall admitted on Wednesday that she stole nearly $20,000 during the term of her employment.

Heather Marie Kirkendall, 39, pleaded guilty to a single count of felony theft. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

In exchange for the guilty plea, prosecutors will recommend that Kirkendall receive a suspended prison sentence of two to four years and three years of probation. If Kirkendall has fully paid restitution before the sentencing hearing, which has not yet been scheduled, the prosecution would recommend a suspended prison sentence of 18-36 months.

Charging papers say special agents began investigating on Nov. 15 and met with City supervisors who explained that payment "irregularities" had been discovered within the Community Development Division.

According to the affidavit, 34 receipts for cash payments were omitted from a daily receipt worksheet, and were not included in associated deposits. The payments totaled $3,981 and, in each case, Kirkendall was the employee who completed the daily worksheet and made the corresponding deposit.

Further investigation showed that the discrepancies began in May 2016 and continued through October 2017, for a total of 187 instances where the receipts issued did not match the daily receipts worksheet.

The amount of money which was unaccounted for totaled $19,403.75.

Agents tried contacting Kirkendall at her Casper home on Dec. 5, but they were unsuccessful.

In answering questions from District Judge Daniel Forgey during Wednesday's court hearing, Kirkendall admitted that she spent some of the money.

Kirkendall remained free on bond as of Wednesday morning.