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5/12/2009, 1:04 a.m. PDT
The Associated Press
(AP) PORTLAND, Ore. – A woman hired by a nonprofit to help adults with cerebral palsy has been sentenced to one year in jail after skimming $5,000 from their meager bank accounts to pay for manicures, lattes and rent.
Margie Cleo Tisdale, 47, pleaded guilty to criminal mistreatment and identity theft. At this month’s sentencing, prosecutor Kevin Demer asked the judge to send Tisdale to prison for 15 months.
“It wasn’t just a one-time, one-day mistake she made,” Demer said.
Tisdale’s lawyer, Kami White, said her client should be sentenced to no more than two months in jail, saying the thefts occurred when Tidsale was off her medication for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Multnomah County Judge Youlee You went with a length closer to the prosecutor’s recommendation after hearing from Tisdale’s victims.
One victim said that when she needed money to grocery shop, Tisdale refused to give her any. Instead, the woman said Tisdale told her to eat any remaining canned food in her kitchen, even the expired stuff.
A man battled tears and stutters to tell the judge that he wanted Tisdale to serve jail or prison time. “I want to see things taken away from her like she done to us,” he said.
The prosecutor said Tisdale created a record with United Cerebral Palsy of Oregon and Southwest Washington that indicated her victims were inept at managing their money. When cash couldn’t be accounted for, it looked like it was their fault.
Tisdale sobbed when telling the two victims she was sorry: “I love you guys,” she said. “You guys have a good life. OK?”
After the hearing, Officer Barbara Glass, an identity theft investigator with Portland police, said she was “repulsed” that Tisdale targeted such vulnerable people. Two used wheelchairs and one uses a walker. One man has since died.
“She looked everybody in the eye while she was busy pilfering their bank accounts,” Glass said.
United Cerebral Palsy, located in northeast Portland, has given the victims money to replace what Tisdale took and spent. The judge ordered Tisdale to reimburse the nonprofit.
Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com