Warminster woman's 21-year house arrest term modified

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) - September 18, 2010

Montgomery County Judge Joseph Smyth on Friday ordered 40-year-old Lanette Sansoni of Warminster to begin serving the prison sentence on Oct. 18. She will be eligible for the prison's work release program and is required to pay at least $500 a month toward the remainder of about $475,000 she admitted stealing from her employer.

"This is what we have always wanted," Assistant District Attorney Steven Bunn said. "We got the accountability of jail time plus restitution that will make the victim whole."

The judge said he would reconsider the sentence when Sansoni paid off the remaining $131,000 in restitution.

"Obviously my client would have preferred to escape jail time altogether but she would rather have nine months in jail with work release and get it over with than 21 years of house arrest," defense attorney A. Charles Peruto Jr. said. "A house arrest sentence of that length is just too onerous."

Peruto Jr. said Sansoni has obtained employment and earns about $25,000 a year.

When Smyth imposed the sentence last month, he called the case unusual because the owners of title company JRS Settlement had asked him to fashion a sentence that would guarantee restitution and didn't necessarily seek jail time.

The judge said Friday he had been told that the fees assessed for work release were far more than those for house arrest, and he wanted most of Sansoni's earnings used for restitution. He said he has since learned that the fees are about the same for both programs - and once on house arrest, Sansoni could not be incarcerated if she lost her job.

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