Today is judgment day for Sharon Scanlon of Shelton
Sharon Scanlon is expected to find out how much time she will spend behind bars today.
The former Shelton assistant finance director accepted a plea agreement last October after being accused of stealing $914,000 from the city over a decade.
Scanlon is expected to receive a sentence that results in her spending three to seven years in prison for the theft, with an additional five years probation.
So far during court proceedings, Scanlon has not spoken in her own defense. This morning’s court appearance in state Superior Court in Milford will be her chance to offer an explanation and ask for leniency from the court.
Scanlon, a 49-year-old Shelton resident, worked for the city of Shelton for 17 years.
Attorney will seek leniency
Scanlon should appear in court with her attorney, William Dow III, and likely will be joined by family members. Dow is expected to ask for a lenient sentence on behalf of his client.
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In the past, Dow has said Scanlon is from “a good family” and is “a nice woman.” He has said Scanlon has “acknowledged responsibility” and “made substantial efforts at restitution.”
“People in life fall into these situations,” Dow said of Scanlon after a previous court appearance.
Scanlon should be sentenced by state Superior Judge John Ronan.
Mayor unlikely to address the court
One person who is unlikely to be court today is Mayor Mark Lauretti.
As the victim, the city is allowed to send a representative to address the court before Scanlon is sentenced.
Lauretti has indicated he does not plan to do that or to send someone else on the city’s behalf, although that is not certain.
“I’m not inclined to,” he reiterated during a recent interview when asked if he would address the court.
“What would be the purpose?” Lauretti asked. “I’m not sure if proves anything or adds value. We all know what happened.”
‘A breach of public trust’
“It’s unfortunate,” Lauretti said of Scanlon’s actions. “It was a breach of public trust, a breach of employee trust.”
Lauretti noted that the city already has recovered more than $600,000 through insurance and voluntary payments made by Scanlon, working through her attorney.
The mayor thinks the court is likely to require further restitution by Scanlon as part of her sentence.
And he said the stolen funds weren’t the only cost to the city. “We incurred costs through the investigative process,” Lauretti said.
The city has placed a lien against Scanlon’s Crescent Drive home as a way to recover more funds.
Plea deal involves two counts
Scanlon originally was accused of stealing $914,000 in city money over a decade. She was charged with 56 counts of first-degree forgery and one degree of first-degree larceny, all felonies.
She pleaded no contest to one count of both first-degree forgery and first-degree larceny. “No contest” means a suspect neither admits or disputes his or her guilt, but is basically treated in criminal court as being similar to a guilty plea.
Her plea covers the theft of about $478,000 from 2008 to 2012, due to the five-year statute of limitations.
Under the plea deal, the other 55 counts of first-degree forgery will be dropped.
Without the plea arrangement, being found guilty on the two felony charges could have brought a sentence of up to 30 years, Judge Ronan said when accepting Scanlon’s plea.
Resigned her position in 2012
Scanlon resigned her city position in August 2012 after the city alleged she had stolen funds. She turned herself in to State Police on Jan. 23 of this year. Her bond was $100,000.
State Police have said that Scanlon “drafted fraudulent checks from the Shelton City Hall and deposited those fraudulent checks into her personal checking account via ATM at selected locations, over a 10-year period.” Investigators allege that money was stolen until July 2012.