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Author's assistant sentenced for theft by swindle

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A personal assistant to best-selling author Melody Beattie has been sentenced in Hennepin County for swindling her employer.

Judge William Howard ordered Sharon Schultz to a year in the workhouse and probation for taking $400,000 from Beattie, a native of St. Paul. Prosecutors asked for five years in prison. Howard said Tuesday that he opted for the workhouse and probation because Schultz has no prior criminal record.

Schultz was accused of collecting Beattie's royalty checks and funneling the money to her own account, or her daughter's account, to support a gambling addiction.

KMSP-TV reports Schultz once denied the allegations, claiming Beattie approved the payments, but then pleaded guilty to criminal charges. Beattie authored Codependent No More, published by the Hazelden Foundation, and other self-help books.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.