CLEARFIELD – A Clearfield woman accused of stealing rent money from residents at the Dimeling Senior Center pleaded guilty recently during plea and colloquy court with sentencing in Clearfield County.
Cara Marie Artiola, 33, 315 Reighard St., Clearfield, pleaded guilty to theft by unlawful taking, theft by failure to make required disposition of funds, and forgery. She was sentenced to seven months to two years less one day in jail and two years consecutive probation. She was fined $600 and was ordered to pay over $8,300 in restitution.
Artiola, who was the general manager of the center, allegedly took more than $9,000 between May and December of 2012.
Prior to sentencing, an emotional Artiola told Judge Paul Cherry she is trying to get her life back on track. She explained that she knew what she was doing was wrong, but she thought she was not going to do it “long-term” and was planning to pay it back. But, it got to be too much for her. She said she didn’t want to be away from her children for as long as a year, which was a possibility in her case.
“I have two small children,” she stated, adding, “I don’t know how to tell him (her son) that he won’t see me.” She pointed out that if she is in jail and not working, she can’t pay the restitution.
Cherry noted that because of her prior record, she would have to serve a period of incarceration.
Artiola is currently finishing a revocation sentence for a previous theft charge. The new sentence will run consecutive to the revocation sentence of 30 days to one year in jail.
According to court documents in that case, she pleaded guilty to theft by failure to make deposit of funds in March of 2011 and was sentenced to two years of probation. She had to pay restitution of $1,166 to the Joseph & Elizabeth Shaw Public Library.
According to the affidavit of probable cause in the Dimeling case, an employee of Developac Inc. of DuBois who manages the Dimeling noticed that Artiola was not making rent deposits in a timely fashion. In February of 2013, she received a letter from the bank stating there were non-sufficient funds in the bank account, which had a negative balance of $1,350.63. After checking recent receipts, it was discovered that a deposit of $8,015 from December of 2012 was not received by the bank.
When the employee talked with Artiola, she stated that she had hoped the difference would not be discovered until after she received her tax refund and could replace the money. The total amount missing was determined to be $9,632.
Artiola gave the company a letter stating her intent to pay off the amount before the end of February of 2013. As of March 5, she repaid only $1,800.
When police spoke with her, she admitted to stealing the cash. She explained she started with taking the cash rent of one person in May or June of 2012, but it slowly escalated until she was keeping all the rent paid in cash. In a written statement, she admitted to taking the funds to help pay bills and the other expenses of being a single parent.