In Phillipsburg, New Jersey, lehighvalleylive.com
- A 59-year-old woman who faced up to 30 years behind bars was sentenced to seven years in prison for stealing more than $120,000 from an 87-year-old lifelong Phillipsburg woman.
Frances M. Wise, of the first block of Woodlawn Road in Phillipsburg, was convicted by a jury in October of theft, theft by deception and misapplication of entrusted property -- all second-degree crimes that each carry a sentence of up to 10 years.
The theft counts were merged for sentencing purposes and she was sentenced Feb. 10, the Warren County Prosecutor's Office said in a news release.
Wise, who had power of attorney from 2009-13, drained Josephine Bacskai's bank account of more than $30,000 and took out two mortgages totaling more than $90,000 on the Stanley Street home, authorities charged.
Shortly after she was found guilty, Wise told lehighvalleylive.com that she didn't commit the crimes. She provided documents showing the mortgage and numerous small charges on the victim's account, but said they were done at Bacskai's request. Wise said she had been railroaded by the legal system.
She was ordered at sentencing to pay Bacskai $143,000 in restitution, the prosecutor's office sad.
Lisa Martinelli, who took over the power of attorney in 2013, noticed the thefts, the prosecutor's office said. She spoke at the sentencing.