An assistant Mahoning County prosecutor will oppose a request for early release from prison by a woman who stole more than $600,000 from a Boardman car dealership.
“One hundred and eighty days in prison is not enough punishment for a theft of this size,” J. Michael Thompson, assistant prosecutor, said, referring to Debra L. Chance, who was sentenced in February to four years in prison for the theft.
After pleading guilty to the theft, Chance, 41, of Kerrywood Drive, New Middletown, drew her sentence from Judge R. Scott Krichbaum of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, who also ordered her to make full restitution.
Chance was office manager at The Honda Store on Boardman-Canfield Road from 2005 to 2009 and had been stealing money from the dealership for most of that time, police said.
On Wednesday, Chance’s lawyer, Douglas B. Taylor, also of New Middletown, filed a motion asking Judge Krichbaum to release Chance from the Ohio Reformatory for Woman in Marysville.
Taylor cited what he said were Chance’s “unbridled efforts to make restitution,” totaling more than $12,000 to date, and her “sincere effort toward self-improvement” while in prison, and he added that “further detention would serve no beneficial purpose.”
Attached to the motion was a statement from a prison official that Chance had performed 483 hours of community service in prison in quilt- and blanket-making for central Ohio foster homes and homeless shelters.
Also attached were letters to the judge in support of judicial release from Chance, her parents, her husband and her two teen-age daughters.
The motion was filed after Chance reached her earliest eligibility for judicial release after serving six months in prison.
Thompson said he’d respond to the motion in writing within two weeks and that Judge Krichbaum could rule on Chance’s motion with or without conducting a hearing. The prosecution recommended the four-year prison term for Chance when she was sentenced.
Aside from mentioning the shortness of her prison stay to date, Thompson said he would oppose Chance’s request for early release because, before her sentencing, she was not “forthcoming about assets she could have used to pay restitution to the victim.”
In the theft scheme, Chance would write loan checks to herself, write a phony receipt, then credit her own account instead of putting the money into the dealership’s account, police said.
She would also take cash from the business transactions for a given day, writing a check for the amount of the cash, but pulling the check out of the daily deposit before the deposit was made to the bank, they added.