Two women sent to prison, one for murder, the other for embezzling

Friday, April 22, 2016

Two women were sentenced to prison Friday, one for a brutal murder, the other for a large embezzlement, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office announced Friday.

Ivory May Andis, 21, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for fatally stabbing Dargenella Wade, 44, at the transit station and parking ramp located at 101 N. 9th St. in Minneapolis last summer. Hennepin County District Court Judge Daniel Mabley rejected a request from her lawyer to drop the sentence to as low as 20 years. 

Earlier in the day, Hennepin County District Court Judge Carolina Lamas sentenced Karen Jane Breyette to more than five years in prison and ordered her to pay nearly $1 million in restitution to the company from which she embezzled.

Emotions were running high in Andis’ sentencing from the beginning. Judge Mabley explained that Andis would be kept in handcuffs, which is unusual, because she had been causing problems in the jail.

Wade’s family and friends packed one side of the courtroom wearing blue T-shirts with a picture of the victim and the words “Sugar Plum 5/12/71-6/25/15.” At least two family members carried small urns containing some of Wade’s ashes.

Four of them gave victim impact statements. They told how Andis had taken the life of a mother and a grandmother.

“You took our light and made it dark,” said Lisa Jones, Wade’s cousin. “Our sunshine is not shining no more. Asking for leniency is totally disrespectful for the life you took.”

Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Sarah Hilleren argued against a lighter sentence and, instead, argued Andis should receive even more time, 367 months instead of the 306 months Andis could expect for a second-degree murder conviction given her lack of a criminal history. Hilleren pointed out that Wade and Andis fought earlier but Wade walked away to the transit station a block-and-a-half away. Andis “made a tactical decision to procure a knife,” and it took her five minutes between the time Wade left and Andis tracked her down and then repeatedly stabbed her as she was pinned against a pillar, Hilleren said.

Andis cried throughout her statement to the court and apologized repeatedly to the family.

In the embezzlement case, Breyette, 54, of St. Bonifacius had pleaded guilty to all 10 counts of theft by swindle. Friday morning, she was sentenced to 64 months in prison. She also was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $924,770 to PenRad Technologies.

Breyette was hired by the medical device company in January 2008 as controller/bookkeeper and began stealing five months later.

According to the criminal complaint and what she admitted to in court, Breyette took the money in a variety of ways. She used the company credit card to pay for hotels for her vacations and for clothes and other items for her personal use. She used the company checkbook to write four $4,000 checks to herself and another check for more than $6,000 to pay a company for silver bullion bars, which were recovered at her house.

The largest amounts were embezzled through the payroll system. Breyette would record the appropriate amount of salary for her paycheck in the payroll ledger but then transfer more of that into her account through the electronic payroll.

Breyette also made wire transfers from the company’s account to other bank accounts. Two of the transfers, for a total of $42,000, were sent to Gentle Green Cleaners, a company in which she is a part owner. A third transfer of $32,000 was made to a bank account in Macomb, Michigan.

At her sentencing, Breyette apologized to company officials who were in attendance and said this is but one chapter of her life, and after her release, she would begin a new and better chapter.