A Rootstown woman who stole nearly $78,000 from her employers, a Mantua Township well service company, over the span of six-and-a-half years, was sentenced to four years in prison by a Portage County Common Pleas judge on Monday.
Deborah P. Hamilton, 50, of 4109 Reiss Road, was sentenced by Judge Laurie Pittman. Hamilton pleaded guilty to one count each of grand theft and tampering with records, both fourth-degree felonies, and 57 counts of forgery, all fifth-degree felonies, on May 20.
Pittman sentenced Hamilton to 18 months in prison on each of the grand theft and tampering with records charges, to run consecutive to each other. Pittman then added another 12 months on top of the 36-month prison term for all 57 counts of forgery, for a total of 48 months in prison. Hamilton was ordered to report to the Portage County jail on Aug. 29 to begin serving her sentence.
In addition, Hamilton was ordered to pay $77,900 in restitution -- $27,900 to Max Herr Well and Pump Service and $50,000 to Latitude Insurance -- within 10 years, along with a $100 fine. She was accused of stealing the money between February 2006 and September 2012 by forging dozens of checks on the victims' bank account.
Defense attorney Tim Hart said Hamilton "immediately and fully cooperated with the investigation into her crimes" by the Portage County Sheriff's Office, and "lived a life of terror" at the thought of being discovered.
Hart said his client acknowledged to probation officials that she understood "she deserves to go to prison," but is working on herself.
Hamilton "hasn't lost the love of her husband and children, but lost some respect" in their eyes, he said.
Assistant Portage County Prosecutor Sean Scahill asked Pittman for a prison sentence of three to five years due to the "sheer volume" of charges against Hamilton, the nature of the charges and the fact she stole nearly $78,000.
"The victims treated her as a member of their family," he said.
Hamilton called her own crimes "wrong, deceitful and nasty."
"What I did is unexplainable," she told Pittman.
"What really disturbs me is, in the (pre-sentence investigation report), you hinted to some kind of 'thrill' at stealing," Pittman said. "You got a 'high' … it just amazes me. There is some mental illness."
"Yes, there is," Hamilton replied.
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