Woman sentenced in church theft

ST. CLAIRSVILLE Debra Ann Webb, 52, 167 Newell Ave., St. Clairsville, appeared before Common Pleas Court Judge Frank Fregiato and was sentenced on one count of theft, a felony of the fourth degree occurring Jan. 1, 2011.

She was given three years of community control sanctions and was sentenced to 18 and 12 months in jail for a total of 30 months, all suspended except for 18 months. She will serve 12 months in jail, six months EOCC.

Charges stem from the theft of thousands of dollars from St. Mary’s Church in St. Clairsville by Webb while she was an employee.

Webb’s ex-husband spoke on her behalf and asked Fregiato to consider that she has a gambling addiction. He noted her remorse. Defense noted her prior law-abiding life.

Fregiato denied a request for community controls.

“I am sending a signal that you don’t steal thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars from someone in Belmont County, especially a charity, and think that you’re not going to jail,” he said.

Issues of restitution must also be resolved. Webb admitted to the theft of $20,000. She is accused of stealing $122,000, with a total loss of $130,000 including accounting fees and other expenses.

DeFrank can be reached at rdefrank@timesleaderonline.com