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Windber woman pays $28K in restitution to borough museum

September 25, 2018 GMT

A former treasurer of the Windber Area Museum, who misappropriated nearly $28,000 over three years, was placed in Somerset County’s intermediate punishment program Monday.

Christine Marie Sadlon, 46, of 1st Street, Windber, altered deposits and made numerous checks to herself while serving as treasurer from Jan. 1, 2013, until April 18, 2016, according to court documents.

In April 2016, a museum board member was contacted by a bank employee about an overdraft fee being applied to the organization’s account. The board member closed the account and contacted the Windber Borough police, according to court documents.

A total of 450 counts, including forgery, theft by deception, theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received and receiving stolen property, were filed against Sadlon on April 16.

“She told me that if I gave her some time (prior to a pleading) she would pay all the funds back,” Somerset County District Attorney Lisa Lazzari-Strasiser said in a prior interview.

Sadlon kept her word and was able to plead guilty to one count of theft by deception, a first-degree misdemeanor, on July 18, after her final restitution payment was made to the museum and she paid $44.38 to the nonprofit’s president, Noretta Haydu, according to court documents.

“It was a big betrayal on her part,” Haydu said Monday. “It was heartbreaking. Someone working here, we thought we were all friends working for the same goal.”

She said she holds no ill will toward Sadlon, and the nearly 150-year-old nonprofit will move forward.

Sadlon’s attorney, Michael Filia of Johnstown, told President Judge D. Gregory Geary Monday that Sadlon has been very cooperative since being charged.

Sadlon told the judge she was sorry for what she had done.

“I worked very hard to pay the victim back,” she said.

She did so with “very limited means,” her attorney added.

Haydu said she and the museum staff are happy with the sentence.

“The courts have been good to us, working with us,” she said. “We got our money back and that was our goal.”

Geary said he based the sentence, in part, on Sadlon making full restitution and having a minimal prior record. The sentence was within the standard range of the sentencing guidelines. He also took into consideration the large sum of money that was stolen, he said.

The judge then placed her in the intermediate punishment program, a probationary program with electronic monitoring, for two years. She was ordered to pay the costs of prosecution and supervision and a $200 fine.