EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon bookkeeper has been sentenced to 3½ years in prison for embezzling a quarter-million dollars from Serenity Lane, the drug and alcohol treatment center that employed her.

The Register-Guard reports (https://is.gd/dgop5a ) that Melodi Sappe never offered an explanation for her behavior to Eugene police. At Tuesday's sentencing, however, she and her attorney said the money was used to help a relative battling substance abuse.

Sappe pleaded guilty to first-degree theft for crimes committed over a span of more than two years.

Detectives began their investigation when officials at Serenity Lane provided business records documenting Sappe's thefts.

Her conduct first came under scrutiny when her supervisors checked records and discovered she had used Serenity Lane funds to make a number of personal UPS shipments.

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Information from: The Register-Guard, http://www.registerguard.com