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Embezzler sentenced

A woman investigators say embezzled money to pay back thousands of dollars in court-ordered restitution in a previous theft case, and who may have been planning a bank robbery, was sentenced to five years in prison Monday.

Michelle DeLuna Garcia, 29, was charged with stealing more than $60,000 from the Suncoast Schools Credit Union in 1995. She pleaded guilty to grand theft and was sentenced to probation.

Investigators said Garcia later embezzled $310,693 from Stewart Title of Tampa Inc. where she worked and used that money to pay back the court-ordered restitution. Garcia was charged with 21 counts of grand theft in that case.

Prosecutor Anthony Arena said when officers stopped Garcia for having an obstructed license plate, they discovered a fake bomb and what appeared to be a bank robbery note.

Garcia entered a plea in that case last month and Monday was sentenced to five years in prison.

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