Clerk who stole bond money says poor health should keep her out of prison
BY TERESA AUCH SCHULTZ firstname.lastname@example.org February 13, 2014 4:14PM
Updated: February 14, 2014 2:03AM
A former Merrillville town employee who admitted she stole more than $175,000 from the town is asking a judge to sentence her to home confinement and probation.
Virlissa Crenshaw is dealing with numerous health problems, her attorney argued in a sentencing memorandum filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Hammond.
“This court will rarely see a 43-year-old defendant whose health is poorer than Ms. Crenshaw,” her attorney, Jerry Flynn, argued in the filing.
Crenshaw was diagnosed with diabetes in 1998, he says, and has dealt with numerous related health problems ever since. She also has cardiac problems and has been hospitalized seven times since 2012.
Flynn wrote that imprisoning her would cost far more to the public than a normal inmate would and asked that she instead serve a term of five years on probation, including 30 months on home detention.
Crenshaw, who worked as a clerk in the Merrillville Town Court, pleaded guilty in 2012 to stealing $176,763 from bail bonds that defendants had paid to be released from jail. The total loss to the court was more than $300,000, though, because Crenshaw would use money from other defendants to pay back the bond money to those she had stolen from. She also pleaded guilty to filing false income tax returns.
Federal attorneys are asking that she serve 30 to 37 months in prison, noting that her crime took place just after another Merrillville employee, Rosemary Barath, was convicted of stealing about $300,000 from the town and sentenced to no prison time, which could have convinced Crenshaw she would not suffer serious consequences if she was caught..
Flynn disputes any connection between the two and says the government offers no evidence his client was even aware of the Barath case.
Crenshaw’s sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 24.