The amount stolen totaled more than $137,000.
A woman who stole more than $137,000 from the Ballenger Creek Meadows Homeowners Association learned her fate on Tuesday. In Frederick County Circuit Court, Judge Ed Dwyer sentenced Nancy Walker, 63, to 15 years in jail, with all but 18-months suspended.
Walker will also be put on three-years supervised probation when she's released, and be required to complete 100-hours of community service. She must also repay the amount of money she stole, which totals $137,260.
"A year and a half in jail is a long time, given the fact that it's her first offense of any nature whatsoever," says State's Attorney Charlie Smith. "But then again she stole an awful lot of money so we were happy with that sentence, as were the representatives of the Homeowners Association who were present and addressed the court."
The theft went on from November, 2011 to January, 2012, according to a statement of facts about the case.
Walker pleaded guilty on July 17th to one count theft scheme over $100,000.
According to the facts of the case read during the defendant's plea hearing, the State's Attorney's Office said the Sheriff's Office was contacted in January, 2012 to investigate a possible embezzlement. Authorities were told that large amounts of money were withdrawn from the Ballenger Creek Meadows Homeowners Association's accounts at BB&T and PNC Banks. Walker managed the funds at the time.
As the investigation continued, according to the facts of the case, detectives contacted Walker, who said in April, 2011, she met a man on the Internet named David Mancini from West Virginia. She never met him in person but spoke with him over the phone. Authorities say Mancini told her that he was in a South African hospital, and needed money for medical expenses. She provided him with $50,000 from her own funds, and borrowed $30,000 from her sister. In November, 2011, Mancini contacted her and said he needed money to get out of jail in South Africa. Throughout this whole period, Mancini promised he would pay her back.
Walker also presented a photo of Mr. Mancini to investigators.
One day, according to the facts of the case read in the court room, detectives were talking with Walker when she received a call on her cell phone from Mancini. The detectives spoke with him. He said he would pay Walker back next week, and hung up the phone.
Investigators told Walker that the man they spoke with was an African male, not a Caucasian as the picture she had of him indicated. "She had been tricked," according to the facts of the case.
While not a violent crime like a homicide, an offense such as this is not a victimless crime, says Smith. "$137,000 is an awful lot of money. And it's a breach of trust. She was entrusted to handle the finances of the Homeowners Association. She breached that trust for all of the people who live over there," he said.