No Jail For Shelton Charity Thief
by Vanessa Inzitari | Apr 22, 2010 3:39 pm
The Shelton woman who helped raise money for a fatally ill child, then kept the money for herself, will not go to jail.
Instead, Stephanie Hartmayer, 47, was sentenced to two years probation and must pay $2,950 in restitution, Judge Burton Kaplan ordered Thursday afternoon at Superior Court in Derby.
Hartmayer helped organize two fundraisers for Naomi Tyrell, a young Shelton girl who has Niemann-Pick Disease — an illness where harmful amounts of fat accumulate in the spleen, liver, lungs, bone marrow and brain.
Tyrell is confined to a wheelchair and can’t speak, eat or swallow on her own, her mother said in a statement to the court.
Money Hartmayer raised was supposed to go to the National Niemann-Pick Foundation, an organization that helps fund research to find a cure for the disease.
Instead, Hartmayer pocketed almost $3,000.
“I want Stephanie to see Naomi and to realize that when she saw her financial difficulties as more important than finding a cure for my daughter’s progressing disease, it was profoundly selfish and damaging,” Naomi’s mother, Lorna Tyrell, said in a statement filed in Hartmayer’s court papers.
Two of Naomi’s young school friends also wrote letters saying it wasn’t fair for Hartmayer to keep the money.
Article continues after the letter.
Hartmayer, who pleaded guilty to two counts of fourth-degree larceny under a plea bargain, must also complete 50 hours of community service, in addition to any she’s already done.
She is also barred from participating in any fund-raising activities for a year.
According to the warrant, she told police in a statement that her family had financial hardships.
“I needed the money to use for my family,” Hartmayer said.
She said she intended to pay the money back when she had her family finances in order. Hartmayer made full restitution after her court appearance Thursday, according to court documents.
Originally, Hartmayer was charged with two counts of third-degree larceny, one count of sixth-degree larceny, issuing a bad check, interfering with an officer, and issuing a false statement in the second-degree.
Those charges were reduced under the plea agreement.
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