A Mount Airy woman who embezzled more than $169,700 from the Ellicott City real estate office where she worked was sentenced to eight weekends in jail Thursday by a Howard County Circuit Court judge.
Josephine F. Davis, of the 17000 block of Frederick Road, pleaded guiltyin September to one count of felony theft and has made restitution of the entire amount to Howard County-based Re/Max Realty. Profits from the sale of her mother's property went toward repayment of the embezzled money.
"I am very sorry and will never, never get myself into anything like this again; I ask for your mercy," she told Circuit Judge Dennis M. Sweeney before her sentencing. "I'd just like to take care of my family and not be a bother to anybody."
Judge Sweeney imposed a five-year suspended sentence, except for the eight weekends, to be served in the Howard County Detention Center beginning Jan. 24. He also ordered Davis to participate in a home detention program for six monthsunder the supervision of Home Confinement Inc. of Rockville.
Since Davis had repaid the full amount of the embezzled money to her employer, assistant state's attorney Walter Closson did not request incarceration as part of the sentence. However, the judge said he was concerned that a sentence with no jail time would send an inappropriate message to the community.
"It's obvious that Mrs. Davis is devoted to her family but she has violated the trust placed in her," Sweeney said.
"It's a question of whether just walking away with no incarceration is appropriate," he said.
Davis, who was employed as the office manager of the Re/Max Realty firm, was charged last January with 32 counts of felony theft and four counts of forgery, police said.
Police said she wrote or altered 36 company checks in a three-yearperiod, most of which transferred between $5,000 and $10,000 into her personal bank account from the company's escrow account. She told county police that she needed the money to pay the mortgage, bills andother loans.
Davis confessed to the crimes, which occurred between September 1987 and June 1990, in a letter to her employer.