Arundel couple sentenced in theft at treatment center

Bookkeeper, spouse stole $60,000 from Hope House

September 20, 2002|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

As angry officials of a Crownsville drug and alcohol treatment center for poor people looked on, their once trusted ex-bookkeeper and her husband were ordered yesterday to spend a weekend in jail and to repay the nearly $60,000 they stole.

Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Joseph P. Manck also sentenced Sherry Ann and Charles Trabing to six months of house arrest and five years of probation in lieu of another 18 months in jail for their theft from Hope House.

The couple used Hope House credit cards to make thousands of dollars in personal purchases. They also created a duplicate set of Hope House checks, writing them to themselves, in what prosecutors alleged was a carefully planned scheme.

The theft, which started in January 2000, hurt the staff's morale and caused Hope House to drop some employee training so patient services would not take a hit, said Ruth A. Hudicek, executive director.

"The staff feels betrayed. I didn't feel betrayed, I just felt angry," Hudicek said, describing the many weeks she and workers spent putting their financial house in order.

Both Sherry Ann and Charles Trabing, of Arnold, apologized.

Through tears, Sherry Ann Trabing, 42, said their financial woes started when her husband lost his job in 1997 and were compounded in 1999 by her treatment for back pain with large amounts of morphine. She has been drug-free since surgery in January, she said.

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