ELLSWORTH, Maine — A woman listed in jail records as a Hancock resident has been sentenced to serve a year behind bars and, after she is released, to repay nearly $25,500 to a woman she stole money and drugs from over a period of nearly two years.
Roberta A. Rolfe, 45, stole the money from the older woman, with whom she had a close relationship, between December 2006 and September 2008, according to records filed in Hancock County Superior Court. The Bangor Daily News is not identifying the older woman because she is a victim.
Rolfe was accused of forging checks with a cumulative value of more than $1,000 during the same time period and, in September 2008, of stealing hydrocodone from the woman. The crimes occurred in Bar Harbor, according to court documents, but attorneys involved in the case said Tuesday that they did not know where the victim was living at the time.
Rolfe was charged with Class B theft and Class C charges of forgery and stealing drugs in June of 2010. She was indicted on the charges in December of that year and pleaded guilty to all three the next October, court records indicate.
When she pleaded guilty, Rolfe’s sentencing was delayed to give her time to pay back the stolen money. Had she paid back the money within a certain period of time, she would have been offered a fully suspended sentence of two years, two years of probation, and a requirement to receive counseling, according to court documents.
Carletta “Dee” Bassano, Hancock County district attorney, said Tuesday that Rolfe was given more than a year to come up with the money. Bassano said the hope during that time was that Rolfe’s family would sell real estate it owns in Harrington and use the proceeds from the sale to pay restitution.
“That was the plan,” Bassano said.
According to Jeffrey Toothaker of Ellsworth, Rolfe’s defense attorney, those efforts failed.
“We couldn’t find a buyer that had the money,” he said Tuesday.
The court also was unwilling to accept the property as a substitute for payment.
On Jan. 2, with none of the stolen $25,500 repaid, Justice Ann Murray sentenced Rolfe to an overall term of 2½ years with all but one year suspended and a probation term of three years, which will go into effect upon her release. She began serving her prison sentence on Jan. 9.
With the sentence, Rolfe still is expected to pay the full amount of restitution and has 2½ years after she is released to do so, according to court records. She also was ordered to pay an additional $555 in fines and surcharges by Dec. 31, 2013.
Toothaker said that Rolfe has no prior criminal record. Because prosecutors had offered to recommend that she not spend time behind bars, the court order to spend a year in prison was unexpected, he said.
“It was more than I thought she would get, given she was offered no [jail] time,” he said.
Bassano said that in ordering Rolfe to serve one year in prison, Justice Murray cited the close, trusting relationship that Rolfe had with the victim when the pattern of theft occurred.
“That certainly played a part” in the sentence, Bassano said.
Follow BDN reporter Bill Trotter on Twitter at @billtrotter.