Despite having $80,000 in credit card debt, a former employee of KeyBank in Fostoria bought a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, a pickup, and a new car -- purchases a federal judge characterized as "beyond me."
"I guess I should understand," U.S. District Court Judge James Carr said Monday during the sentencing hearing for Mona Simpson DiCesare. "In cases like this, people don't steal unless they are way over their heads."
Mrs. Simpson DiCesare, wife of former Fostoria Assistant Fire Chief Pete DiCesare, was sentenced in federal court Monday to two years of supervised release and ordered to pay a $2,500 fine. She previously had pleaded guilty to bank embezzlement for taking $29,755.44 from the bank while she was an accounting manager at the North Countyline Street branch.
Judge Carr noted at the start of the hearing that he did not believe prison time was necessary as a punishment in the case. He added that he was imposing a fine, despite Mrs. Simpson DiCesare's financial constraints, because she "had a position of some trust" while working as a long-term employee of the bank.
He also ordered Mrs. Simpson DiCesare to undergo any recommended mental health and money management counseling.
Mrs. Simpson DiCesare was charged in August with embezzling the money over a three-year period. She paid restitution on the money prior to her sentencing Monday.
While wiping tears from her eyes, Mrs. Simpson DiCesare apologized to both the court and the bank for her actions.
"The humility is the sentence every day for myself as well as my family," she said.
Judge Carr noted that although several family members were in the courtroom as support, Mrs. Simpson DiCesare's husband was not among them.
"She didn't buy a Harley-Davidson for herself," Judge Carr said. "I do think it takes two to accumulate that sort of debt."
Findlay-based attorney Dennis Fitzgerald said that since the start of the case, Mrs. Simpson DiCesare has cooperated fully, including sitting down with bank representatives to discuss why and how she embezzled the money. He added that she has also maintained a job, however menial, while the case was ongoing to ensure restitution was paid.
"She is humbled and deeply apologizes to the bank and her family," he said after the hearing. "She's disappointed in herself."