SMETHPORT — A Bradford woman accused of stealing money from a Port Allegany church will serve jail, house arrest and probation.
Pamela J. Hamilton, 53, was sentenced Thursday in McKean County Court before President Judge John Pavlock.
Hamilton will serve a term of 90 days to one year, with the first 45 days to be served in McKean County Jail and the second 45 days on house arrest. That will be followed by three years of consecutive probation.
On March 11, Hamilton pleaded guilty to a charge of theft by unlawful taking, a third-degree felony, for allegations that while she served as financial secretary at the First Baptist Church of Port Allegany, she took $23,743.76. Hamilton did this by taking from the weekly offering and by writing checks from the church without permission.
District Attorney Stephanie Vettenburg-Shaffer said that Hamilton is to pay $200 in restitution up front, which will go to the church, then the remaining $23,543.76, which goes to the church’s insurance company, will be paid in monthly installments of at least $100.
Her attorney, Jeffrey Weinberg of Pittsburgh, noted, “Miss Hamilton is confident that she can pay substantially more than that.”
According to Weinberg, Hamilton has a job in which she makes just under $25,000 a year, and she plans to “deny herself any luxuries of life” in order to make higher payments.
Hamilton said she is looking for a second job, too.
“I did come forward in January 2020 of what I had done because I knew I needed help,” she told Pavlock prior to sentencing, noting that she paid back $4,800 when she admitted what happened. She said she is now in therapy, and she believes will be for a long time.
“I just can’t express the shame I feel,” said Hamilton.