BRADENTON -- A former Bishop Animal Shelter employee charged with stealing more than $66,000 in cash from donations and adoptions was ordered held Thursday on $50,000 bond.
Gail Lynne Judah, 47, was arrested Wednesday morning and charged with scheming to defraud.
Circuit Judge Deno Economou, who will preside over the case, set the bond on her arrest warrant at $50,000.
Judah had been hired at Manatee County Animal Services last April after being fired from Bishop when it discovered money missing.
Bishop approached the Manatee County Sheriff's Office with evidence after reportedly doing its own investigation.
Manatee County has indicated Judah's employment would be terminated as she was still in the probationary period, .
On Thursday afternoon, Judah made her first appearance in court in front of Circuit Judge Hunter Carroll.
Carroll left the bond Economou had set at $50,000, despite arguments from the Public Defender's Office on her behalf.
Judah sobbed as the defense asked the judge to consider reducing the bond to $25,000 with supervised release saying she had lived in the area for about 44 years, had substantial families ties, including children, and was not considered a flight risk or a danger to the community.
"This is not a violent crime," the assistant public defender added.
The State Attorney's Office argued Economou had set the bond at $50,000 after having looked at the facts of the case and Judah's criminal history.
Carroll said a bond reduction could be argued again in front of Economou if a hearing were requested.
The Public Defender's Office was also appointed to represent her if she qualified, he said.
Paperwork from Bishop revealed cash missing from donations and adoptions from 2008-15, according to the sheriff's office. Judah was reportedly the only employee with access to proceeds from donations and adoptions.
On Wednesday, Bishop said it has since changed its policies and procedures.
The investigation revealed Judah was altering the weekly books by omitting donations and adoptions to make it appear less cash was coming in, according to the sheriff's office.
Jessica De Leon, Herald law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter@JDeLeon1012.