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Published: Wednesday, 8/8/2007

Mother going to jail for theft from in-law

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Tiffany Yglesias, center, stands with her attorney, Kristin Stahlbush, left, in court.
Tiffany Yglesias, center, stands with her attorney, Kristin Stahlbush, left, in court.
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Tiffany Yglesias spent several months last year helping write a guide for Toledo Public Schools parent-teacher organizations advising them on how to avoid theft.

Yesterday, the former schools coordinator and mother of two was sentenced to 17 months in prison for stealing thousands of dollars from her ailing mother-in-law.

Lucas County Common Pleas Court Judge Stacy Cook then denied Yglesias request for time to get her affairs straightened out and ordered her into custody immediately.

You have to know this has to stop, Judge Cook said.

A tearful Yglesias, 31, apologized to her family before sentencing yesterday, saying that she wanted to be a good mother to her 9 and 11-year-old daughters.

But family members said that she has long been a thief who takes advantage of people during their most vulnerable times.

Brooke Biel, 66, said that she has been Yglesias victim several times.

The mother of Yglesias husband, Joe, Mrs. Biel told Judge Cook that her daughter-in-law has been caught stealing three times in the past decade.

Biel Biel
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According to Assistant County Prosecutor Jeremy Santoro, Yglesias stole seven checks from Mrs. Biel s purse and wrote them for a total of $2,880.

On July 2, she pleaded no contest to one count of theft from an elderly or disabled adult and was found guilty.

Mr. Santoro said Yglesias was stealing from her mother-in-law in hopes of paying off cash advances as well as to return money to her husband s accounts that she previously took without permission.

The case was not the first to land Yglesias in court.

In 2004, she was charged and pleaded no contest to one count of grand theft and two counts of theft. After being found guilty of the charges, Yglesias was ordered to four years of community control, including time in work release as well as paying $11,710.70 in restitution.

Yesterday, Judge Cook extended her community control in that case by an additional two years and warned that if she violated it again, she would send her to prison for an additional three years and three months.

Cook Cook
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Calling Yglesias manipulative and calculative, Judge Cook said her heart goes out to Yglesias daughters.

I think you are a thief. I think you are a thief who disguises herself as somebody s mom, the judge said. You get caught and then you cry.

After the sentencing hearing, Mr. Yglesias, who said the couple is in the midst of a divorce, contested his wife s statements that she took the money because of a shopping addiction.

Instead, he said that she has a problem that she has refused to get under control.

His mother said she was a person with good qualities and computer talents that she used for the wrong purpose.

When you married my son Joe 11 years ago, I welcomed you into our family. I treated you like you were my own daughter. You have given me two beautiful granddaughters, Mrs. Biel said before the judge s sentence.

But you have a serious problem that you have not been able to control. For that reason, you are a menace to me, to your husband, and to the community.

At the start of the 2006-07 school year, Yglesias worked as a member of a team of Toledo Public Schools employees helping to create a 75-page guide that offered ways to cut risks against thefts in parent-teacher organizations.

In an August, 2006, article in The Blade, Yglesias was quoted as saying that the guide includes things like bonding, insurance, and how to protect bank accounts.

Her contract with TPS expired in June and was not renewed, a district spokesman said.



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