A Meraux woman admitted Monday she stole $116,000 from the state Supreme Court by creating sham judicial appointments and bank accounts in faraway places.

Misty Corb, 38, pleaded guilty to four counts of identity theft during an arraignment hearing in front of Judge Arthur Hunter, of the Orleans Parish Criminal District Court.

She received four years probation and was ordered to pay more than $46,000 in restitution, having previously repaid roughly $70,000 she pocketed before her scheme fell apart, according to Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro's office.

Corb entered her plea as a first-time offender, giving her the chance to expunge the conviction from her record once her probation ends and she pays back the money.

Corb first drew scrutiny when state auditors couldn't find the paperwork for a retired judge's temporary assignment in 2016. The state's high court appoints and pays retired judges to temporarily preside over courtrooms of which elected judges resign, retire or miss long stretches of work because of an illness or other reasons.

The retired judge told auditors he didn't serve the temporary appointment in question. Investigators eventually discovered that Corb, who was hired in December 2015 to handle the Judicial Administrator's Office's payroll, had made a number of fraudulent pay requests in the name of retired, inactive judges.

Corb made up fake assignments for the judges to justify the pay requests then diverted the money they would have earned into bank accounts under her control, according to authorities. She stowed the money in banks as widely scattered as Opelousas, Natchitoches and Greenwood, Mississippi.

Corb left the Supreme Court in March, about four months before State Police arrested her on 29 counts of identity theft, computer fraud, malfeasance in office, public salary deduction and public payroll fraud.

Prosecutors last month filed charges only on the four identity theft counts to which she pleaded guilty.

In a statement Monday, Cannizzaro called Corb's actions "brazen and disappointing."

"We are only hopeful that this court will be able to recoup the remainder of the restitution owed to the state Supreme Court," he said.

Without elaborating, Corb's attorney, Davidson Ehle, said his client was experiencing difficult personal circumstances when she took the money and regrets what she did. 

"There's great remorse there, and she's very motivated to pay every single dime back to the Louisiana Supreme Court," Ehle said. 

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Follow Ramon Antonio Vargas on Twitter, @RVargasAdvocate.

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