Judge cuts 6 months off prison term for North Aurora elder theft

  • Mary E. McMillan, formerly known as Mary Pfingston, had six months cut off her 5-year prison term this week because of an error at sentencing.

    Mary E. McMillan, formerly known as Mary Pfingston, had six months cut off her 5-year prison term this week because of an error at sentencing.

 
 
Updated 5/3/2018 1:00 PM

Citing an error at sentencing, a Kane County judge cut six months off a five-year prison term for a Joliet woman who stole nearly $34,000 from an elderly woman at a North Aurora assisted-living facility.

The defense attorney for Mary E. McMillan, 42, formerly known as Mary Pfingston, asked Judge D.J. Tegeler to reconsider McMillan's prison term and resentence her to probation after her guilty plea to felony financial exploitation of an elderly person.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

McMillan stole tens of thousands from a woman at a the Ashbury Gardens assisted-living facility in 2015 while employed as a contract worker and ombudsman for Senior Services Associates.

Defense attorney Greg Reeder argued McMillian could pay restitution to the victim sooner if she was on probation instead of prison. Reeder also argued the sentence was "excessive" and McMillan lost her state license so it will be impossible to reoffend while in a position of trust.

Kane County Assistant State's Attorney Sarah Seberger argued that the prison term should stand, noting McMillan was guilty of stealing $5,900 while she worked at a Joliet doctor's office in early 2014 and then, in her next job, stealing from the woman in North Aurora.

"She stole from one job, left that job and stole in her next job from an innocent elderly person," Seberger said.

In the end, Tegeler reduced McMillan's prison term -- but not for reasons argued by Reeder.

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Instead, Tegeler said he erred at McMillan's sentencing in March when he considered an aggravating factor of a defendant committing a felony while being on probation for a previous felony conviction.

Tegeler noted McMillan was on probation for a conviction in the Joliet doctor's office theft, but it was a misdemeanor and not a felony. Tegeler did stand by the prison term, though.

"It's her background and attitude of her whole life that placed her in the Department of Corrections, not her ability to pay (restitution)," Tegeler said.

McMillan can have her prison term cut in half for good behavior and she has five years from her release to pay restitution.

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