Woman who stole from firefighter calendar charity gets prison

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DENVER – The woman who took more than $200,000 from a firefighter calendar that raised money for Children’s Hospital will spend 90 days in jail.

Kristen Hamling, 48, was sentenced Thursday. She pleaded guilty to felony theft in exchange for other charges being dismissed.

She created the group called Fired Up for Kids that made calendars of shirtless Denver firefighters and used the proceeds to help fund the burn unit at Children’s Hospital.

Prosecutors said she used the money from the non-profit for her personal use including buying airline tickets, car repairs and a private school for her children.

She resigned from the group in 2011.

Hamling will also have to serve 10 years probation and pay back $250,412.  The jail sentence includes a work release provision which means Hamling will be released from jail during the day to work and will have to return in the evenings, said DA spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough.

Hamling will have to report to jail within the next few days, Kimbrough said.

During the sentencing hearing, Hamling apologized for what she had done.

"Words right now cannot express how badly I feel and how sorry I am," Hamling said. "I've done a lot of things wrong, but I've also done a lot of things right."

Hamling paid $150,000 in restitution in court.  "I'm working hard to pay everything back," she said.

The firefighter calendars are now produced by a new charity called Colorado Firefighter Calendar, Inc.

Barbara Brooks has been with the charity since 2004 and said wasn't entirely impressed with the punishment for Hamling.

"I think a lot of us would have liked to see her spend a little bit more time in jail to think about what she's done," Brooks said.

"I think she feels badly, but I don't think she felt badly at the time. I think it was about her living a certain lifestyle at that time," she said. 

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