David R. Rhodehamel is a trustworthy friend and a good family man, his supporters wrote in letters to a Franklin County Common Pleas Court judge.
But after hearing portions of the letters read Monday at the sentencing hearing for the 45-year-old lawyer and former Columbus property manager, Richard Mattlin stood and offered an opposing viewpoint.
"He plots and he plans and he schemes," said Mattlin, whose 92-year-old mother was a victim in the theft and forgery case in which Rhodehamel was convicted. "He's evil."
Judge Beverly Y. Pfeiffer weighed comments from both sides before sentencing Rhodehamel to six years in prison and ordering him to repay $796,774.
"I don't know, and may never know, what type of person Mr. Rhodehamel really is," Pfeiffer said. But she was struck by a letter from Betty Mattlin, who wrote that she considered Rhodehamel "a good person with personal warmth until he defrauded me."
"That sums it up," the judge said. "A position of trust was used to take advantage of someone."
Rhodehamel, who expects to lose his law and real-estate licenses as a result of the convictions, apologized before sentencing.
"I never intended to do harm to Betty Mattlin," he said. He blamed his actions on a lack of attention to detail.
In November, a jury convicted the Upper Arlington resident of two counts of theft, one count of forgery and six counts of money-laundering. He could have been sentenced to as much as 54 years in prison.
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Lawyer Gets 6 Years in Prison for Defrauding Elderly Client