By Dennis Pelham
A tearful apology was given Wednesday in Lenawee County Circuit Court by a woman convicted of embezzling from an Adrian dental office during the two years she worked there as office manager.
A one-year jail term handed down to Tina Marie Sawicki, 37, of Adrian was suspended for six months to allow her a chance to finish paying off about $25,000 in restitution and investigative expenses. If the money is paid, she is to serve only four weekends in the county hard labor program rather than jail time.
“I’d like to apologize to everyone I’ve hurt and who I stole from,” Sawicki said. “I’m truly sorry for all the pain I’ve caused everyone.”
Two women who worked with Sawicki at Adrian Family Dentistry told the court not to take her apologies seriously.
“I?don’t think she is truly remorseful,” said Jennifer Gentner, reading from a letter from co-worker Sonia Garcia during the sentencing. “Her tears are not for remorse; it is only because she has been caught and fears going to jail,” Gentner read from the letter.
Sawicki was charged in December with embezzling from the dental office from January 2007 through July 2009. She was also charged with making false claims to Blue Cross Blue Shield. She pleaded guilty to the embezzlement count on Jan. 20.
Defense attorney Graham Teague argued that Sawicki earned leniency by telling the truth to investigators about what she did. A majority of the restitution was paid Wednesday, he said, causing her family financial difficulties.
Teague reserved the right to challenge a $5,623 bill from Blue Cross for expenses it claims were incurred in investigating false claims by Sawicki. Actual losses from the false claims were less than $4,000.
“I just think that’s unreasonable,” Teague said.
Judge Margaret M.S. Noe included the Blue Cross bill in the restitution order, saying it is part of the losses the insurer suffered.
“They are in no position to overcome your deception,” Noe said.
She told Sawicki her acts also embarrassed and humiliated the people she worked with at the dental office as well as her own family.
“You were placed in a position of trust and you manipulated the financial records,” Noe said. Sawicki took advantage of the trust and kindness of the people who employed her, she said, stealing money for herself while they struggled to pay their bills.
Sawicki was also placed on probation for five years and ordered to pay $1,250 court costs.
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Content retrieved from http://www.lenconnect.com/article/20100225/NEWS/302259917