Valpo embezzler spared jail time
By James D. Wolf Jr. Post-Tribune correspondent March 5, 2013 12:02PM
Updated: April 7, 2013 6:24AM
VALPARAISO — The Valparaiso woman who embezzled from a hairstyling business, took out credit cards in the name of her business partner and didn’t pay taxes for the business will not serve any prison time.
However, Monica Jean Schmidt, 33, will serve 29 months and 18 days on home detention.
Schmidt must also repay $50,000 before that home detention is finished, and another $100,000 is expected to come from a pending civil suit filed by the business owner.
She will also serve 71/2 years on probation after home detention.
It’s not a sentence that her partner at the defunct Bella Cappeli Salon and Details, once located at 902 Calumet Ave. in Valparaiso, liked.
Tammy S. Ferrari said she’d only get back about a quarter of what Schmidt stole.
Bill collectors still pursue Ferrari for credit cards Schmidt took out in Ferrari’s name and charged to the credit limit. There are also 15 pages of more than 700 Paypal purchases.
“I have to clean up your criminal actions,” Ferrari said. “Home detention in a luxury home ... Nothing has changed in your world.”
Schmidt kept her face in her hands for most of Ferrari’s victim’s statement.
“I am very sorry for the horrible things I did,” Schmidt said in her defendant’s statement, crying.
Porter County deputy prosecutor Trista Hudson said this sentence would be the best action because a trial could emotionally tax Ferrari, and the multiple banker boxes of financial records could overwhelm jurors.
Porter County Circuit Court Judge Mary Harper said, “In the vast majority of cases, there is not a way to make it right across the board.”
Schmidt pleaded guilty on Oct. 9 to Class D felony theft and three counts of Class D felony fraud. She was originally charged in 2011 with 10 felonies: Class C felony forgery, three counts of Class C felony theft and six counts of Class D felony theft.
When the salon opened in 2002, Ferrari handled the day-to-day business while Schmidt handled books
In October 2011, Schmidt denied Ferrari access to the books when Ferrari sought a loan to relocate. In November 2011, the Internal Revenue Service gave notice the salon owed back taxes.
Ferrari also discovered three credit cards in her name with $16,000 total balances and with the salon and Schmidt’s home as billing addresses.
Court documents estimate Schmidt stole $115,000 in 2008, $136,000 in 2009 and $143,000 in 2010.