MASON CITY | A Mason City woman convicted of stealing nearly a half-million dollars from a dental practice has been sentenced to federal prison.

Pamela Harris, 58, was sentenced Thursday to a term of 41 months, or three years and five months.

Originally accused of taking $474,000, Harris later admitted she used a rubber signature stamp to steal $491,255 from the Mason City dental practice of Blake Barnes and Michael Louscher, federal prosecutors say.

This happened while she worked as an office manager from July 2005 to May 2014. 

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She's also accused of paying for personal expenses with credit cards she opened in the dental practice's name. 

U.S. District Court Judge Linda Reade told Harris at her sentencing in Cedar Rapids that the crime was very serious, sophisticated and caused serious hardship for the dentists, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

They say the judge took note of a letter Harris' civil attorney sent to the dentists early on, saying she would pay back $100,000 if they gave her a good recommendation for another job. The dentists declined to do so. 

Harris has already paid back $150,000 of the $491,255 in restitution she is required to pay the practice. 

She was ordered to surrender to federal jailers on May 8.

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