Saturday, November 19, 2016

Attorney Who Raided Escrow Account Out Of Over $105K Dodges Prison Time, Gets 8 Months House Arrest, Probation; Swindled Cash Was Earlier Repaid To Victim By Defendant's Relative

In Scranton, Pennsylvania, The Citizens' Voice reports:
  • The former Hazle Township solicitor who admitted to stealing more than $105,000 that was held as part of a development agreement was sentenced [] to four years probation, with the first eight months served under house arrest.

    Charles Pedri, 65, pleaded guilty in July to a felony count of theft from a program receiving federal funds, admitting he raided an escrow account entrusted to him for his personal benefit. During a brief statement in court, Pedri apologized for his conduct.
    ***
    The crime called for a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, although the guideline range based on his record was a sentence of 12-18 months in jail. Prosecutors argued that was an appropriate range, characterizing the crime as a serious offense in which Pedri stole more money than the average person makes in a year by abusing his position of trust.
    ***
    Pedri eventually admitted taking the money after Hazle Spindle threatened a lawsuit. He was fired and the money was subsequently repaid.

    But in court [], O’Hara noted it wasn’t Pedri who repaid the debt — he was seeking probation because he now needs to repay the debt to an unidentified female relative.

    “Restitution has not been made by the defendant,” O’Hara said. “Restitution has been made for the defendant.”

    Ghilardi called O’Hara’s comment “unfortunate,” saying the important element in such a case is making the victim whole, not the source of the money.

    “It’s not his money because he doesn’t have any money, and that’s what caused him to commit this offense in the first place,” Ghilardi said.

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