FARMINGTON — A Franklin County justice sentenced a Phillips woman Monday to six months of a three-year sentence for stealing $30,000 from Grant’s Kennebago Camps in Stetson Township.

Following her release from the Department of Corrections, Deborah Lynn Vitrano, 36, will serve three years on probation and is required to pay restitution.

Vitrano pleaded guilty to two felony counts of theft by unauthorized taking or transfer and forgery March 26 in Franklin County Superior Court.

Deputy District Attorney James Andrews said in March that owner John Blunt had owned the business for more than 10 years and hired Vitrano as manager in September 2016 and later appointed her bookkeeper.

Blunt would have testified, if the case went to trial, that he entrusted Vitrano with the checkbook in early November 2016, Andrews said. She was allowed to take $200 a week during the off-season for herself and could write checks pertaining to the business.

Andrews said there would have been testimony that some checks written by Vitrano were forged with Blunt’s name on them. In January 2017, Vitrano became a co-signer on the checking account. The money was taken by way of unauthorized checks, unauthorized cash withdrawals and unauthorized vendor charges, Andrews previously said.

Justice Robert Mullen continued sentencing in March to maximize the amount Vitrano could pay back.

Andrews argued Monday for Vitrano to be incarcerated for one year, but defense attorney Curtis Rice argued for all three years to be suspended.

Andrews told the court Blunt could not be in court Monday because he could not take time off from work. Blunt requested Vitrano get the maximum jail time and said he is not sure he will be able to pull himself out of the financial situation, Andrews said.

The camp not only employed family members but also people in the Rangeley area, he said.

Andrews argued that a fully suspended sentence becomes more like a loan.

In seven months since she pleaded guilty, she has paid $800 in restitution. She was $500, $700 and $800 a day at times, Andrews said.

A mitigating factor is she does not have a prior criminal record, he said. Paying $1,200 to $1,300 a year will take years to repay the money, he said.

Defense attorney Rice said it was obviously a serious crime. Being out of jail would give her more time to work and pay the money back, he said.

“She has an opportunity to try and make it right,” Rice said.

“I am very embarrassed of my actions,” Vitrano said. “I had not realized (the) checkbook had gotten away from me. … I really would do my best to pay it back.”

She worked for the company for six years, starting as a dishwasher, she said.

“I ask the court to have mercy on me,” she said.

Mullen weighed sentencing options. “I don’t agree a fully suspended sentence would be appropriate,” he said.

He sentenced her to three years with all but six months suspended and three years of probation on the theft charge with the same sentence on the forgery charge to be served at the same time.

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