LAPORTE | A Mill Creek woman is going to jail for using her position as a caregiver to steal from her clients.
Tari Britton took more than $60,000 from several elderly or disabled clients, authorities said.
She paid back every penny after receiving a sentence of 60 days in the LaPorte County Jail on Wednesday along with 14 months wearing a satellite tracking device while on home detention under a guilty plea on two counts of Class D felony theft.
Britton, 52, must also serve one year probation.
"She trusted you. A lot of people trusted you," said Esther Styles of one of Britton's victims. Styles was the granddaughter of one of the victims, Nancy Holiday, who recently died.
Britton was working for Parents and Friends, a not for profit organization in LaPorte that provides services to the disabled and mentally handicapped who might not have a direct family member or anyone else to assist with their care.
According to court documents, Britton had access to clients' accounts because her duties under a guardianship program included taking care of their finances.
She allegedly withdrew money from those accounts without the consent of the clients including an 88-year-old woman with Alzheimer's disease.
LaPorte police were first contacted about Britton in July of 2010 after an elderly woman became suspicious when she had Britton deposit $13,000 into her account and later didn't receive it after repeatedly asking Britton for the money back.
According to court documents, Britton told investigators she took the funds to pay down personal credit card debt.
Judge Tom Alevizos rejected a previous plea a few months ago that contained no actual jail time.
Alevizos said the new plea still did not provide enough jail time but he accepted the terms because the case had been lingering for so long and that Britton did not have a prior criminal record.
She also was determined to be at a low risk to reoffend, he said.
Alevizos told Britton crimes on people who have to rely on others is especially upsetting.
"If you have a conscience I hope it bothers you for a long time," Alevizos said.
Prior to sentencing, Britton said there were no words she could offer that would excuse her actions.
"I'm truly very sorry. I was sorry right from the start," Britton said.