FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A woman from Sulphur Springs was sentenced to federal prison for theft of federal funds.

Codi Dannell Bates, 34, of Gravette, was sentenced today to 32 months in federal prison without the possibility of parole, followed by three years supervised release and ordered to pay $184,934.06 in restitution on one count of theft from an agency receiving federal funds.

According to court records, from 2017 through 2019, while Bates was employed as the Office Administrator for the city of Sulphur Springs, she stole funds from the city in a variety of means. 

Bates obtained the signatures of city officials under false pretenses, then wrote those checks to herself and her husband.  She also used cash funds paid to the city for water services to pay for her personal expenses.  

Bates’ criminal conduct was initially uncovered in detail by the Arkansas Bureau of Legislative Audit. Bates was arrested on state charges in May of 2019 and the investigation was then referred to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

According to the investigation, Bates converted $184,934.06 from Sulphur Springs for her own personal use during her period of employment from August of 2017 through March of 2019.  In 2018, the city of Sulphur Springs received over $180,000 from FEMA alone.  

Bates waived formal Indictment and pleaded guilty on September 18, 2020.