A woman who stole nearly $100,000 from her Fredericksburg employer over a two-year period was ordered Friday to serve two and a half years in prison.

Jessica Leach, 38, of Locust Grove, pleaded guilty to 10 counts of embezzlement in Fredericksburg Circuit Court. As part of a plea agreement worked out by Commonwealth’s Attorney LaBravia Jenkins and defense attorney Andy Cornick, Leach was sentenced to 28 years, with all but two and a half years suspended.

Leach, also known as Jessica Buhmann and Jessica Dawn Smith–Buhmann, was also ordered to pay restitution totaling $98,592 by 2029 or face the possibility of having suspended time reinstated.

According to the evidence, the thefts occurred from January 2017 through December 2018 while Leach was working for Dr. Patricia Murray–Zarzour, then a gynecology specialist in Fredericksburg.

Leach handled billing for the practice, but an audit showed she’d been funneling money from the practice into her personal account. Jenkins said Leach wrote more than 100 checks to herself from the corporate account.

Leach was charged with 24 embezzlement counts, one for each month the thefts were taking place. Fourteen charges were dropped as part of the plea agreement.

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Keith Epps: 540/374-5404

kepps@freelancestar.com

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