Casper Woman Who Stole From Brother Sentenced To Probation and Ordered To Pay Restitution
Whether to send a defendant to prison for stealing nearly $28,000 from her Social Security Disability-dependent brother underscores a punishment problem for those convicted of exploitation of a vulnerable adult.
Incarcerating Donna Anderson would have punished her, but that would mean she would not be able to work to pay restitution.
Anderson, 56, breached her family's trust, has shown no remorse, and has not accepted responsibility, Natrona County District Attorney Mike Blonigen said during her sentencing hearing before District Court Judge Thomas Sullins on Wednesday.
She siphoned $27,879.16 from him from December 2014 through December 2015 for her expenses including $11,000 to avoid home foreclosure, extra vehicles, fast food restaurants, clothes and Netflix, according to court records.
"This was a deliberate repetitive course of conduct," Blonigen said.
He demanded restitution and punishment. According to the presentence investigation, Anderson had no history of full-time employment, and she complained about her dire financial straits, he said.
Blonigen recommended a four- to six-year prison term, to be suspended.
Instead, he wanted Anderson placed on four years of supervised probation during which she would be sent to the Casper Re-Entry Center and in turn be forced to seek full-time employment and counseling for criminal behavior.
He wanted her to pay $600 a month to her brother for restitution and liquidate her vehicles, and pay court fees. He also asked Sullins to waive the public defender fee and have that money go to restitution.
Her public defender Kurt Infanger said the crime tore apart her family, who does not want her to go to prison. Anderson had no prior criminal history and now she is a convicted felon, which will make finding a full-time job even harder, he said. She already has a part-time job that pays $700 a month.
Infanger asked Sullins for a longer term of probation because Anderson may not be able make the proposed $600-a-month restitution payments. "One of the main goals is to be able to pay back the money."
Sullins noted lower payments will mean a longer probation term.
He sentenced Anderson to probation and make payments of $500 a month, and ordered her to sell extra vehicles and have no luxuries such as cable television.
Before the sentencing, Anderson's brother and sister told the court they loved their sister, and they didn't want her to go to prison.
"I don't hate my sister," the brother said. "I hated to have come to this direction.... I hope one day we can put this behind us and be a family again."
Anderson's sister said exploitation and criminal case broke her heart. "But loving her does not mean allowing her to get away with (exploiting) our brother," she said.
"She destroyed his trust," she added.
When Sullins asked Anderson if she had anything to say, she just nodded 'no.'