MARIETTA - A Belpre woman will be spending 30 days in the Washington County Jail, despite concerns voiced by her attorney that her numerous health issues would complicate a jail stay.
Mary Ann Rexroad, 59, of 614 Elm St., Belpre, was sentenced Thursday on a fourth-degree felony count of theft. She pleaded guilty in September to collecting food stamps on behalf of an elderly man suffering from a brain tumor, who used to be in her care.
"I'm very sorry this happened. I just don't know what else to say," Rexroad said while making a statement to the court.
Rexroad had worked as a licensed practical nurse until she had a heart attack, rendering her disabled, said Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Susan Boyer.
During her time as the man's caregiver, Rexroad used his Social Security paperwork to sign up for food stamps while he was either living with her or while he was under her care, said Boyer.
"He moved to the state of West Virginia and was unaware that she was receiving benefits in his name," said Boyer.
After the man moved, an anonymous tip led to a review of the claim, said Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Amy Graham. Investigators with the Social Security Administration found that all the food stamps were being spent in Belpre and Beverly, more than three hours away from where the man was living.
While Rexroad did not harm the man, she used her relationship with him through her job to facilitate the crime, elevating the seriousness, said Boyer.
Graham said the state's only request in regard to punishment was that Rexroad be ordered to pay the full restitution amount to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
Boyer ordered full restitution of $11,640.
Rexroad's attorney, Joe Brockwell, asked for community control sanctions and requested leniency on behalf of his client. Rexroad has no prior criminal convictions, but she does have medical problems, he said.
"She has a long list of medical conditions including hypertension, heart disease, COPD and severe apnea for which she uses oxygen," said Brockwell.
He stated that he had tried to obtain a physician's recommendation against jail time, but Rexroad's physician had recently stopped seeing her.
"The physician, in fact, essentially fired Ms. Rexroad as a patient, which I find somewhat disturbing," said Brockwell.
But Boyer decided jail time was necessary and sentenced Rexroad to 30 days in the county jail with credit for one day served. In addition, Rexroad was put under community control sanctions for three years.