She was accused of stealing the money to cover gambling debts and pay for vacations and personal items, as well as altering computer records and forging bank statements to cover up the thefts.
McGaughey was office manager and bookkeeper for the family business established 33 years ago and employing more than 50 people, according to the owner.
Her lawyer, Jason Cavinder, previously asked she be allowed to remain free through the holidays so she could enjoy it with family and he would have time to prepare “significant mitigating information” that could sway the judge from sentencing her to prison or as extensive a term.
On Tuesday, Cavinder urged Peeler to give McGaughey — with no prior criminal record and diagnosed with bipolar disorder — time to take care of personal affairs, but the judge ordered her taken immediately into custody.
In a memorandum, Cavinder told Peeler McGaughey wanted to impress “a man with whom she was very much infatuated with at the time, and for the first time in her life was about to be marred.”
If allowed to continue working, Cavinder said McGaughey would make full restitution.
In response to a call for leniency so McGaughey could continue therapy, Peeler said the state prison system is “the largest mental health provider in the State of Ohio.”
McGaughey cried as she apologized on Tuesday.
Peeler encouraged McGaughey to make the best of her time in prison.
“You can’t change your past, but your future is spotless,” the judge said.