A onetime employee for a Stearns County veterinary business has been sentenced to a term of more than four years after admitting to embezzling at least $533,000 from her bosses.

Sherry L. Anderson, 44, of Long Prairie, Minn., was given a sentence last week in District Court of 4½ years, with at least the first three years being served in prison before she can spend the rest of the term on supervised release.

Still to be determined by Judge Vicki Landwehr is the amount of restitution Anderson owes Melrose-based Minnesota Veterinary Associates, where Anderson worked for 13 years starting in 2001.

Anderson, who handled payroll and deposits for five clinic locations in central Minnesota, pleaded guilty to embezzling $533,202.88 between July 2010 and March 2014, but prosecutors said in court records that the thievery started in 2008 and totaled nearly $760,000. The five-year statute of limitations only allowed prosecutors to charge her with the lesser total.

A co-worker told authorities that Anderson "often talked about loaning money to others, was driving new vehicles every six months, went on big vacations a couple of times a year and talked about college funds she had for her children," the criminal complaint against the defendant read.

Another employee said Anderson was skimming money from deposits and inflating her own earnings.