The mid-term congressional election is less than two months away and some observers wonder whether the event will be all about nothing.
March 15--An Amherst insurance agent who stole $227,350 from two elderly women and spent some of the money to make payments on a boat and a Mercedes was sentenced Wednesday to six months in jail and five years of probation.
Lowell Chick, 65, was also ordered by Erie County Judge Kenneth F. Case to perform 100 hours of community service and make partial restitution.
"I hope it's at the City Mission, so you can see how they maintain their lifestyle," Case said.
Chick pleaded guilty in December to two counts of fourth-degree grand larceny.
Chick, who obtained power of attorney from the two women, both of whom are now deceased, used $78,065 from one of them and $149,285 from the other.
The judge called Chick's crimes "all the more egregious" because "this was all done to maintain a lifestyle."
"It wasn't that you were homeless," Case told Chick.
Instead, Chick spent the money on an expensive car and boat, Case said.
"You stole from people who trusted you," Case said.
"I would like to apologize to the families and to say that I'm sorry for my conduct," Chick said during the sentencing hearing. "I am mortified. I'm broken. I'm embarrassed. And I don't know what else to say. I hang my head in shame."
Chick could have received up to eight years in state prison and $10,000 in fines.
Case called Chick's sentencing difficult.
A longer jail sentence, which the victims' families may have preferred, would have diminished the judge's ability to set restitution.
Case said he sentenced Chick to the longest term possible that allowed him to require restitution.
Chick agreed to pay $1,000 a month in restitution for five years. The money will go to the estates of the two victims.
The judge allowed him to begin those payments 30 days after he's released from jail.
Chick, who had been free on his own recognizance, was taken out of court in handcuffs by sheriff's deputies.
(c)2012 The Buffalo News (Buffalo, N.Y.)
Visit The Buffalo News (Buffalo, N.Y.) at www.buffalonews.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services