A recalculation of a defendant's prior record resulted in less time in prison, but former paralegal Deborah K. McKissick had to sit through another criminal sentencing in Lycoming County court.
McKissick, who worked for a city law firm and cheated clients out of their money, was sentenced on June 18 on numerous charges including identity theft, forgery, theft by unlawful taking and theft by deception.
Wednesday, she was sentenced to a minimum 42 1/2 months in state prison by Judge Richard A. Gray - about five months less than she was sentenced to on June 18, according to court records
McKissick, 38, of Loyalsock Township, fraudulently became Sylvia Greenabaum's power of attorney by unknowingly slipping a document in a stack of paper for the retired widow to sign. With that, McKissick drained Greenabaum's savings of $9,485 and a life insurance policy worth more than $10,400, according to investigators.
In addition, while still working for the firm, McKissick used courtesy checks from a credit card company in the name of a client to transfer more than $10,500 to her account. McKissick previously was sentenced for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle for keeping a Chevrolet Tahoe that was to be surrendered for bankruptcy proceedings.
Her revised sentence Wednesday does not include a Snyder County sentence on charges of receiving stolen property, theft by unlawful taking and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
McKissick's attorney, Peter T. Campana, asked the judge for a county prison or work release sentence. He said that her actions were caused by drug and alcohol abuse and that her children need her at home now.
However, Melissa Kalaus, assistant district attorney, said a lighter sentence "would do nothing (but) lessen the severity of this crime."
The judge agreed, saying, "I can't put Sylvia Greenabaum out of my mind. She was an old, vulnerable women who lost her husband."
Gray called McKissick's actions a "pattern of dishonesty" that warrants state prison time. Gray aggravated McKissick's charges against Greenabaum since she is a widowed senior citizen, he said.