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Former Baker Victory Services manager gets probation for embezzling $24,000

A former resident manager for Baker Victory Services in Lackawanna was placed on five years’ probation Thursday and ordered to pay restitution for the more than $24,000 that she embezzled from the agency over 15 months.

Christine Gilbert, 29, of Center Road, West Seneca, was sentenced after pleading guilty in October to third-degree grand larceny for the thefts that occurred between Dec. 24, 2012, and Feb. 24, 2014.

In addition to stealing $8,000 in cash from the agency’s disabled clients, prosecutors said, she falsified paperwork to get paid about $19,000 for overtime hours that she did not work.

The $19,000 included fringe benefits, which were subtracted from the restitution amount, reducing the total restitution figure to more than $24,000.

Baker Victory Services replaced the cash that Gilbert took from its clients’ accounts and asked that she make restitution for that money and the overtime pay.

Gilbert took the money from 10 clients’ accounts in 52 transactions, Assistant District Attorney Christopher P. Jurusik told Erie County Court Judge Thomas P. Franczyk. Some of the money was spent to make purchases for herself and her daughter, not for clients, he said.

Gilbert, a single working mother, told the judge that the only employment she has been able to find is a baby-sitting job, which involves 32 to 40 hours a week.

The judge ordered her to pay $125 a month in restitution for the next 16 years to cover the $24,000 she owes Baker Victory, with the monthly amount to increase if she gets a better-paying job.

In sentencing Gilbert to probation in line with a recommendation from the Probation Department, Franczyk cited her lack of a prior criminal record and the need for her to keep working so she can make restitution and support her daughter.

She could have faced up to seven years in prison.