KEITH WHITCOMB JR.
BENNINGTON -- A woman who pleaded guilty in May to taking money from a man she was assigned to as a payee was given jail time as punishment Wednesday in Bennington Superior Court Criminal Division.
Jennifer Rose, 41, of Union Street, first pleaded not guilty to felony embezzlement and a misdemeanor count of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult in October 2011. According to Bennington police, she was a payee for Ryan Tobin and was responsible for managing his financial accounts. Tobin told police in August he discovered his bills were not being paid yet money was missing from his accounts. Police said their investigation revealed Rose had used Tobin's money to pay private bills of her own.
Rose was sentenced by Judge Cortland Corsones to serve between 30 days and 6 months in jail and must report to a correctional facility by Sept. 19 at 5 p.m. She was ordered to pay $222 to Tobin and $1,300 to the Victim's Restitution fund, which had given money to Tobin. Corsones noted that Rose had no ability to pay these amounts. Corsones said that if Rose is furloughed after 30 days she will have a chance to prove herself; otherwise she may end up serving the entire sentence.
Deputy State's Attorney Robert Plunkett said there was no agreement beforehand when Rose pleaded, and his initial recommendation for a sentence would have been for her to have a 3 to 4-year suspended sentence with 6 months to serve, some of it on house arrest despite her eligibility for home confinement in question.
Plunkett said Rose made statements in a pre-sentencing investigation that indicated she was blaming the victim and not taking responsibility. He said he no longer had a recommendation for a sentence, adding that Rose has a history of this type of behavior, albeit the last problem was 13 years ago. He said a punitive sentence would have limited effect and asked for something that would allow her out on supervision.
Rose's attorney, Christopher Montgomery, said his client recently had surgery when she participated in the pre-sentencing investigation and he was not present for it as is custom. He said his client now fully understands her role in the crime and takes full responsibility. He said she suffers some neurological disabilities herself and understands she is not qualified to work as a payee.
Rose told Corsones, tearfully, that what she did was wrong and she was sorry. She said she has four children of varying ages she looks after and feared a lengthy sentence would put having contact with at least one in jeopardy.