MIAMI COUNTY — Alive and well, Melissa Smith, 49, of Gettysburg, was sentenced to serve nine months in prison on two counts of fifth degree theft in Miami County Common Pleas Court on Monday.
Smith had told various friends and relatives she was diagnosed with breast cancer and need money for treatments and medication. She also told various victims she only had weeks to live and needed money for travel to Chicago for treatment.
Judge Christopher Gee sentenced Smith to serve nine months on each count of theft. She will serve the terms concurrently.
Judge Gee reprimanded Smith for causing not only economic harm to her victims, but emotional and psychological harm. Judge Gee noted the “extreme lengths” Smith went to humiliate and take advantage of one victim’s humanity and kindness as well as the economic losses the victims suffered.
One victim told authorities that she accompanied Smith to a Piqua funeral home to assist her in making funeral arrangements. Another elderly victim took Smith to the grocery store and bought her more than $410 in food. Smith was ordered to pay the $410 back to that victim as well as $6,473 to the other victim in restitution.
In a plea agreement with the state, prosecutors dismissed one count of second degree felony corrupt activity and a fifth degree felony of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
Prior to sentencing, Smith apologized to the victims and asked for a chance to “make things right.”
Miami County assistant prosecutor Janna Parker said in her 14 years as an attorney, Smith was one of the most deceptive defendants she had prosecuted in her career.
Parker said Smith’s “depraved conduct” manipulated the victims to believing she was dying and they all willingly gave her money which was likely supporting Smith’s “excessive shopping.”
Parker also noted Smith had bilked thousands of dollars from elderly victims in Sept. 2015 and charged with theft in those cases.
Smith was granted 58 days of jail time credit.
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