Christie Ware sentenced to serve 60 days
Christine J. Ware, 37, appeared before Judge William Carey for felony sentencing under terms of a plea agreement with prosecutors in which she pleads to one felony charge of 2nd degree theft and one misdemeanor charge of attempted falsifying business records.
Ware was given a suspended imposition of sentence for five years on the condition she serve 60 days in jail, complete 300 hours of community work service, provide restitution to the Petersburg Children’s Center board of directors, obtain a behavioral evaluation within 30 days of her release from Lemon Creek Correctional Center in Juneau and follow other conditions of probation.
The court placed her on probation for five years, three supervised and two years unsupervised.
Restitution is to be paid as ordered in a separate judgment that will come in March, according to court documents.
District Attorney Brower told the court restitution should be $27,000 and Ware had made two payments in June and October of last year leaving $17,243.70 remaining to be paid.
Ware’s attorney told the court she had the opportunity to take payroll draws, “and it got well out of hand.”
Ware was the director of the Petersburg Children’s Center until Feb. 2011 and in May she was indicted with multiple counts of theft, forgery and falsification of business records. Although she was accused of taking just under $7,000, according to court records, her actions contributed to secondary expenses, according to the Children’s Center.
Emotions ran high during the 58 minute long proceedings.
Terry Falter of the Petersburg Children’s Center told the court she was sorry the forgery charges had been dropped, since it was her name that had been forged during the theft.
“She chose to break the law,” Falter said.
She said, “thanks to the Elks, Emblem Club and the City of Petersburg we were able to pay back the IRS. Petersburg Children’s Center is starting to thrive again.”
In addressing the community work service (CWS) portion of the sentence Falter said, “I feel that so far everything she’s (Ware) done has been on her terms. I would like to see Ware do something to benefit the community, not just one organization that has not helped us.” She asked the court not to permit any CWS to be for the Petersburg Indian Association, which her husband is administrator of, or the Salvation Army, which the family is associated with.
Next, Falter addressed Ware directly stating, “I’m sorry for what you did Christie. I don’t hate you, but it does hurt.
“The Children’s Center is doing well. It’s because of this staff behind you. You had an awesome team. We would have been there to help you and I’m sorry you didn’t ask us for help.
“I know you’re not a bad person. You’re a good person down deep inside and you made bad choices. I want to see you have some remorse. That’s all I want.”
After the DA and her defense attorney made sentencing comments, Ware addressed the court.
“What I did was wrong and I know that. I got in over my head and I couldn’t ask for help. I’m very sorry. I’m very sorry,” Ware told the court.
“In my family we stand up and say when we do something wrong, we teach our boys to own what they did. You take responsibility for that.”
“When you do something wrong, you take responsibility and I’m trying to take as much responsibility as I can. What I did is wrong and I’m very sorry; very sorry for that,” Ware said.
Judge Carey said, “This case presents quite a paradox.”
Ware who had no previous contacts with the criminal justice system, engaged in a horrible violation of trust, explained the judge. He said the Petersburg Children’s Center was an important organization in town and does provide a tremendous service to the community.
“I have no idea why this happened,” Carey said. After hearing good things about Ware from members of the community, “it makes it all the more puzzling to me.”
Carey continued, “I’m not sure what the underlying reason for this is. It is simply a matter of greed and wanting more money.”
The court made reference to, “a similar case coming up right after this where a private business was ripped off by someone placed in a position of trust.”
Referring to the similar case involving the sentencing of Tammi Aveson who stole from Rock-n-Road Construction, the judge said, “People who are in charge of the books and people that have access to money that isn’t theirs, need to know there are consequences for taking that money.”