POMEROY — The maximum sentence was handed down on Monday morning to the former Village of Rutland fiscal officer who pleaded guilty earlier this year to theft in office.
Laura L. Curtis, 30, was sentenced on Monday to 36 months in prison by Meigs County Common Pleas Court Judge Christopher Tenoglia following statements by several individuals impacted by the case.
Curtis was indicted in late February on the single charge of grand theft in office. The indictment stated that, during her time as fiscal officer (a public official), Curtis committed a theft offense, while using her office in committing the offense, and took property belonging to the village. The indictment states the value of the property or services involved is between $7,500 and $150,000.
The offense occurred between 2009 and August 2011, according court documents.
Prosecutor Colleen Williams made the state’s recommendation of 30 months in prison plus restitution of $50,000.
Current Rutland Council member and resident April Burke read a written statement concerning Curtis’ actions and the damage it has done to the village. Burke stated that the theft of approximately $50,000 made the situation worse than it already was for the village.
Burke went on to say that it has caused many in the village to lose faith in the village and the way it has been run.
Burke requested that Curtis be given the maximum sentence.
Rutland Mayor Lowell Vance also spoke on behalf of the village. Vance stated that, as a result of the theft, the village had missed payment on water and sewer projects, resulting in the need for the county to take over the utilities.
Vance added that, although it is estimated that the total dollar amount of the theft was $50,000, an audit will be taking place soon to determine the exact amount.
To date, the village has not received any reimbursement of the funds, according to Vance.
Defense attorney David Baer argued that his client should be allowed community control as punishment for the offense.
Baer stated that although this was a serious offense, it was Curtis’ first offense.
Curtis’ father also spoke on behalf of his daughter.
The defendant was the last to speak before Tenoglia handed down the sentence. Curtis said that she understood that she had caused a burden on the village and had done wrong.
She added that she needed to regain the trust she had lost with many, including the village and her family.
Curtis concluded that she wanted everyone to understand she was sorry for what had been done.
In pronouncing the sentence, Tenoglia said that Curtis used her position of trust and took advantage of that position.
Tenoglia stated that he was troubled by the fact that there had been no restitution paid to date.
Curtis was sentenced to 36 months in prison and ordered to pay $50,000 in restitution to the village. Baer asked that Curtis be given a few days before beginning her sentence to get her personal affairs in order. Tenoglia denied the request.
Curtis was remanded to the custody of the Meigs County Sheriff to begin serving her sentence.