Nodding through tears as Lehigh County Judge James Anthony asked if she understood her sentence, ex-Coopersburg manager Dawn Kresge got jail time for felony access device fraud after charging thousands of dollars on borough credit cards.
Kresge, who pleaded guilty last month to felony access device fraud, was sentenced to six months to 23 months in Monroe County Prison. Kresge lives in Monroe, so she is allowed to serve her prison time there.
She also was sentenced to 24 months' probation and restitution. She will be allowed work release while in prison.
"I want to apologize to borough residents, I did something very wrong," said Kresge when given the chance to speak in court. "I know I broke the residents' trust in me. I will never get it back."
Kresge told the court that stress in her personal life and at Coopersburg Borough were to blame for charging $14,980.65 on borough credit cards for purchases ranging from car insurance to nail salon visits.
"I went to a doctor who told me to either quit my job immediately or get on medication [for my nerves]. I couldn't quit my job so I chose medication."
Chief Deputy District Attorney Paul Bernardino argued that blaming stress for felony theft was exactly why Kresge should have a harsher sentence. "This goes beyond [the felony fraud charge]. People under stress don't go and commit crimes over and over for over a year and half," said Bernardino. "She continues to blame everyone but herself."
Kresge's attorney, Steven Richard Mills, told the court his client has been able to pay back only $1,700 of the money owed because she hasn't been able to find work after leaving her job with Coopersburg, but is looking for work. "Basically, she's sitting home looking for jobs," Mills said.
Judge Anthony, meanwhile, told Kresge, "You broke the trust of the commonwealth and the taxpayers footed the bill. I wish you good luck."
Kresge will report to Lehigh County Prison for transport to Monroe County no later than 8:30am Monday (March 4).