The former treasurer of an Evans neighborhood association was sentenced to prison Thursday for stealing more than a quarter-million dollars from the organization.
Laurie Wainwright Vanover, 46, of Andover Court, pled guilty to 10 counts of theft by taking at a sentencing hearing in Evans. She was accused of stealing more than $267,000 from the Stratford Community Association over nearly five years.
Superior Court Judge Carl C. Brown Jr. sentenced Vanover to seven years in prison followed by 28 years on probation. Though she presented a $12,500 check to go toward restitution, Brown also ordered her to repay the remaining $255,163.08 plus a $10,000 fine before her probation ends.
“It was full restitution,” association President Bob Clymer said after the sentence. “I’m sure people are at either end of it. Justice was done. That’s all we could hope for. We’re just looking to heal and get moving on. That’s what we can do now.”
Vanover was accused of stealing $267,663.08 between February 2008 through December 2012, when the former association President Tom Gorta called authorities. A check through the association bank account didn’t clear and he discovered funds missing.
“During that time Mrs. Vanover chose to take the money 401 separate times,” Clymer said at the hearing. “She chose to take money that was entrusted to the organization and use it for her own purposes.”
Assistant District Attorney Kim Easterling said Vanover wrote three checks to her husband’s company, but got most of the money from cash withdrawals from ATMs and using the association debit card to pay her personal bills online and at stores.
“(Vanover) indicated she used the money to live beyond her means,” Easterling said at the sentencing hearing. “She was entrusted to handle the money and what she did in fact, was just the opposite. She used it to buy things she did not need. She bought things that she wanted. And she used homeowner’s association money that was supposed to go to building up the community, beautifying it and making people want to come, not making people want to leave.”
Vanover’s attorney, Scott Connell, said since before her arrest, Vanover cooperated with authorities, even helping them sort through financial records. He asked the judge to consider a probated sentence or allow her to serve jail time on weekends so she could work to earn restitution money during the week.
Connell said since her arrest, Vanover has been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and is being treated.
“I just want to apologize to my neighbors for what I did,” Vanover said, “for embarrassing my neighborhood. I do take full responsibility for it.”