Toms River woman sentenced to prison for theft from charity

| May 28, 2010

TOMS RIVER — Despite a 57-year-old Toms River woman's failing health that necessitates constant use of an oxygen tank, she was sentenced Thursday to three years in prison for stealing more than $18,000 from charity.

"She stole from the poor to give to the rich," Senior Assistant Ocean County Prosecutor Martin Anton said of Stephanie Iacopino before she was sentenced for the theft.

Iacopino, of Encinatas Drive, admitted in January that she stole more than $18,000 from the St. Vincent de Paul Society of the Church of St. Martha in Point Pleasant and gambled the money away in Atlantic City.

The St. Vincent de Paul Society is a charity that helps the poor.

Anton said she stole the money to fuel a gambling habit.

In fact, in apologizing to Superior Court Judge Francis R. Hodgson for the theft, Iacopino, who carried a portable oxygen tank with her, said she knew what she was doing was wrong when she placed the charity's ATM card into the cash machine at the Borgata casino in Atlantic City.

When she entered her guilty plea, Iacopino admitted that she stole the card from her husband, who at the time was the treasurer of the charity, and used it to make a series of withdrawals.

The thefts occurred between July of 2008 and April of 2009.

Iacopino was charged with second-degree theft, which carries a term of imprisonment from five to 10 years, as a result of an investigation by prosecutor's Detective James Conroy. She pleaded guilty to a downgraded charge of third-degree theft in a plea bargain that called for a four-year prison term.

Hodgson shaved a year off of that after the defendant's attorney, Vincent Falcetano, told the judge his client has suffered a series of strokes and has been hospitalized several times since she entered her plea. Falcetano told the judge Iacopino requires an oxygen machine 24 hours a day.

Hodgson said Iacopino could be a good candidate for the state Parole Board's Intensive Supervision Program, in which nonviolent offenders are released early from prison and placed under strict supervision. The judge ordered the defendant to make $18,305 in restitution to the charity from which she stole.

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Category: Church Security

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