ATHENS, Tenn. (WATE) — A man was sentenced after admitting to taking almost $1 million from his company for over six years, according to the District Attorney General’s Office.

Jason Kittle, 46, of Athens, was sentenced to 17 years in prison and ordered to pay $981,981.32 in restitution to Volunteer Energy Cooperative (VEC) for a nearly six-and-half-year theft scheme. He pled guilty to the indictment of theft of property over $250,000 on Oct. 3, 2022.

Kittle was an employee of VEC from June 2011 to December 2017. According to the District Attorney General’s Office, he used his position in the accounting department to steal nearly a million dollars for his own personal gain.

Kittle used a refund scheme to transfer money into his personal checking account and make payments to his credit cards and his wife’s credit cards. The transactions he made to his personal account were made to look like refunds, according to the District Attorney General’s Office.

VEC found out about the theft at the end of December 2017. Kittle was soon fired from the company.

VEC also contacted the Decatur Police Department to report the theft. The police department asked for assistance from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office.

In the investigation, they found that Kittle stole $994,981.32 from VEC. However, during the hearing, Kittle claimed he intended to put the money back but realized he could not put it back without triggering red flags. He decided he was going to get caught soon so he continued his theft.

Kittle was taken to the Meigs County Jail. He is waiting to be taken to the Tennessee Department of Corrections.