The victim agreed with the plea agreement.
By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
BOARDMAN -- A Poland woman who admitted stealing thousands of dollars from her employer, then creating an extortion story to cover it up from police will not see the inside of a jail but will pay back all the money to her former employer.
Lucille Matasic, 49, of Lee Run Road, pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of misdemeanor theft after admitting stealing from the doctor's office where she worked for months. Judge Joseph Houser sentenced her to a 180-day suspended jail sentence, and she agreed to pay back the money she took.
Officials of Boardman Area Court said Dr. John P. Popovec, 7067 Tiffany Blvd., Poland, Matasic's former employer, was in court and agreed to the arrangement.
In December, Matasic, a secretary at the doctor's office, told police she was abducted from the lobby of her workplace around 11 a.m. March 9, 2001.
She reported that a man came into the building and forced her to leave with him, and they met an accomplice in the parking lot.
Matasic told officers that after driving around, the men pulled into a wooded area and held up a picture of her grandson that they took from her wallet.
They demanded checks, prescription pads and medicine on a monthly basis from the office where Matasic worked, she said.
Matasic said she told the men she had no access to those items and agreed to give them cash instead, according to reports.
Matasic said she handed over a check, payable to her employer, to the men that day, reports show. She said the men cashed the check at a bank in Poland. The amount of the check is not known.
Matasic told police that over the next several months, she made monthly payments of $3,000 to the men in parking lots at various stores. Some of the money was her own and some was her employer's, she said.
Matasic later admitted to police that the extortion story was fabricated to cover up the theft. She could have been charged with one count of theft for each stolen check, but police said her cooperation and lack of a criminal record spared her from more charges.