BILLINGS, Mont. — A former employee of Lithia Chrysler Jeep Dodge pleaded guilty this week to stealing approximately $288,000 from the dealership over a nine-year period. Renee Ann Zinnecker, 51, said at a hearing Oct. 6 that she used the money to pay for groceries, clothes, utilities and her children’s cell phone bills, among other things, the Billings Gazette reports.

Prosecutors said the thefts ran from 2005 to 2014, when Zinnecker used her position as office manager to skim money using a practice called “account lapping.” Instead of making timely deposits, Zinnecker held checks for days or weeks until she had enough checks to come close to the amount she had entered in the dealership’s general ledger for a given day.

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