Despite ruling, attorneys say restitution unlikely in embezzlement case -- Gazette.Net







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A Montgomery Village woman who admitted to embezzling $248,000 from her elderly mother will serve 10 days in jail due to her ailing condition, a Montgomery County judge ruled this week.

Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Robert A. Greenberg was unmoved by the appearance of 64-year-old Lynda Cardinali LaTour, who arrived in a wheelchair Wednesday afternoon for her sentencing hearing.

LaTour pleaded guilty to embezzlement before Greenberg on May 16.

Greenberg took a brief recess after hearing from both attorneys in the case to weigh LaTour’s punishment against her poor health and medical requirements before announcing his sentence.

“Ma’am, you stole, conservatively, a couple hundred thousand dollars from the woman who brought you into this world,” Greenberg said when he returned. “It is not my wish to impose a death sentence on you.”

LaTour was ordered to serve 10 days of an 18-month sentence, Greenberg said. LaTour also will serve five years of probation after her release and is ordered to pay $150,000 in restitution to her mother, 85-year-old Yola Cardinali, Greenberg said as sheriff’s deputies led a tearful LaTour out of the courtroom.

“I do think it is very important that you leave here in handcuffs for what you did to your mother,” he said.

LaTour would be subject to serve the remainder of her 18-month sentence if she violates probation upon her release, but neither Greenberg nor the attorneys involved in the case thought that likely because of LaTour’s age and poor health.

“It’s a sad case all around,” said LaTour’s defense attorney, Paul S. Lewis. “My client is truly remorseful and she will do whatever she can to begin making her mother’s life better as soon as she can.”

Considering LaTour’s income of about $32,000, along with her age and poor health, it is doubtful Cardinali will see any restitution, Montgomery County Assistant State’s Attorney Bryan Roslund said.

“Given what’s set out by the defense attorney about Ms. LaTour’s health situation, she can’t really go back to work at this point,” Roslund said. “I don’t think it’s very likely that any of that money will go back toward the victim’s care.”

LaTour, of the 8600 block of Delcris Drive, gained power of attorney over Cardinali in 2009, a year after her mother began showing signs of dementia, according to court documents.

While LaTour spent more than $100,000 to put her mother in the Sunrise Senior Living center in Rockville in September 2009, most of the $354,000 LaTour took from Cardinali was spent on personal expenses for LaTour, Roslund said.

LaTour spent $11,000 to paint her house, nearly $7,000 for heating and air conditioning and more than $5,500 each for bathroom and landscaping work, among other expenses, Roslund said.

By September 2011, LaTour also owed the senior living center more than $52,000. The senior center eventually contacted the state’s attorney’s office to report the possibility of senior financial abuse, court documents state.

Sunrise won a judgment against LaTour for almost $76,000 in February, according to court documents.