|BG hotel embezzler is sentenced|
|Written by By BILL RYAN Sentinel Staff Writer|
|Tuesday, 02 February 2010 10:21|
A Toledo woman was sentenced to one year in prison for theft and ordered to repay more than $146,215 in restitution after she was found guilty Monday of embezzling from a Bowling Green business.
Brandy Sneller, 32, of Toledo, having previously pleaded guilty to the theft charge, openly sobbed in court as she apologized to her former friend and employer at Hampton Inn on Campbell Hill Road in Bowling Green.
Sneller was the payroll clerk at the local hotel and fabricated two employees, issuing them payroll checks from Dec. 1, 2004 to March 7, 2008.
Wood County Common Pleas Court Judge Reeve Kelsey gave her until Friday at 10 a.m. to report to the Wood County jail to begin her sentence. He allowed her the time to arrange care of her two children.
Sneller entered her guilty plea on Dec. 14 to the theft charge, a third-degree felony, which carries a maximum sentence of up to five years.
Her attorney, Samuel Kaplan, attempted to avoid a prison sentence for his client. He told Kelsey of her virtually clean record, while admitting the severity of the crime and the personal betrayal of her employer and friend.
Kaplan also told the judge he recognized this was a "very difficult case to assess."
Melissa Freeman, an assistant prosecutor for Wood County, countered and requested a longer prison sentence due to the nature of the case.
Beyond the actual false paychecks generated by Sneller for the false employees, Freeman laid out additional expenses for the establishment including but not limited to increased insurance, and bookkeeping involved in attempting to rectify Social Security and other costs involved.
"The victims will never be made whole," she added, noting the continuing lies. "She was placed in a position of trust and she abused it."
Freeman explained that Sneller fabricated employees using names that would fall alphabetically last in order to cut off the bottom of the payroll sheets before presenting them to her employers.
The prosecutor outlined how Sneller also involved others in cashing the checks, making the felony part of an "organized criminal activity."
Based on the pre-sentence investigation, Freeman told the judge, "She has shown no remorse for her action."
Kelsey allowed the defendant to speak and she tried to mitigate her statements for the investigation, saying, "I am so remorseful. They (her employers) are truly good people. They treated me like family."
Sneller had alleged that another person was involved and told the judge she was "being blackmailed" to continue the ongoing offense.
"I was so scared," she added.
Freeman had told the judge she found no evidence of another individual who was culpable.
Sneller concluded her remarks by turning toward the gallery and directed her comments directly to one of her employers who was in the courtroom.
"I'm sorry, I'm truly sorry. I will do whatever to make this right," she said noting she would be willing to work a second job.
Kelsey considered all the reports as well as letters received from the victims. He concluded "Community control would demean the seriousness of the crime."
The judge noted the ongoing nature of the crime and her position of trust, both as an employee and friend, as well as the serious economic harm inflicted upon the business.
However, he did sentence her to the minimum one year prison term and also ordered three years of post-release control, along with ordering Sneller to pay court costs and make restitution.
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