A judge Wednesday rejected a plea agreement that called for no jail for a caregiver who admitted to stealing more than $60,000 from her elderly and disabled clients.
LaPorte Circuit Court Judge Tom Alevizos added a verbal tirade, saying he also felt bribed from an offer by the defendant's relative to pay back the victims if no jail time was given.
"I feel like I have been akin to blackmail on this. I've never seen anything as despicable as this. I'm supposed to sit here and take this? It's not going to happen," Alevizos angrily said.
He then ordered the case rescheduled for trial Jan. 7.
In May, Tari Britton, 51, of Mill Creek agreed to plead guilty to two counts of Class D felony theft and in return would serve one year on home detention and pay about $64,000 in restitution to the victims.
The judge after reviewing the terms decided to reject the plea agreement because it called for no actual time behind bars or work release.
Alevizos dramatically read written statements from some of the victims that included, "She was supposed to be a friend, not a traitor. She was supposed to help us, not hurt us. I feel betrayed."
Britton was working for Parents and Friends, a not-for-profit organization that provides services to disabled and mentally handicapped who might not have a direct family member or anyone else to assist with their care.
According to court documents, Britton had access to clients' accounts because her duties under a guardianship program included taking care of their finances.
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Judge Rejects Plea Agreement With Theft Suspect