One is an ex-teacher who admitted stealing $17,000 from a parent-teacher group.
The other is a former youth football league president and treasurer who unlawfully cashed checks made payable to himself and took $8,000 in cash from concession stand proceeds.
Susan Jablonski, a former Cayuga Heights Elementary School teacher, and David M. Mascio, of Derby, stood before a judge Monday and apologized. Both promised to make amends, and both convicted felons avoided jail.
“We see our fair share of embezzlement cases, but it’s especially troubling when these thieves steal from children or organizations that benefit children,” said Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III.
Erie County Judge Thomas P. Franczyk said he struggled to reconcile how two otherwise law-abiding people could commit acts amounting to such a “significant breach of trust.”
Both offenders lost their jobs, but not their freedom. Both had faced prison sentences of up to four years.
Franczyk sentenced Jablonski, 42, the former teacher, to a conditional discharge and ordered her to perform 250 hours of community service for her third-degree attempted grand larceny conviction.
Jablonski made unauthorized withdrawals from the bank account of the Cayuga Heights Elementary School Parent-Teacher Organization while serving as its treasurer from 2008 to 2010, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
“It looks like you played fast and loose with the ATM card to the tune of $17,000,” Franczyk said.
Prosecutor Paul E. Bonanno said Jablonski made full restitution shortly after she pleaded guilty in October.
“I just want to say one more time how sorry I am,” Jablonski said during her sentencing. She now lives in Montgomery County, Md., and will perform her community service there.
The District Attorney’s Office previously said Jablonski spent the money on personal expenses, but the judge indicated gambling as an issue with his remark that she seemed to find “solace at slot machines.”
In the other case, Franczyk sentenced Mascio to five years’ probation and ordered him to pay more than $12,000 in further restitution.
Mascio, 43, previously pleaded guilty to fourth-degree grand larceny for stealing more than $13,000 from the Lakeshore Youth Football League. He was serving as the league’s president and treasurer when the thefts occurred between February and June 2011.
He brought to court $1,000 in money orders toward restitution.
Assistant District Attorney John G. Schoemick said the remaining restitution would be paid in monthly payments of $201 over five years.
Mascio could not explain to the judge why he stole the money. “I’m just very sorry, embarrassed,” he said.
“I’m all about my children, other children and the community,” he said, as his two teenage children sat in the courtroom watching the proceeding.
“Nothing like this will happen again,” said Mascio, a former Head Start administrator who is now unemployed. “I’ll do whatever I can to pay this debt.”