Vice Squad
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Shopping-Addicted Embezzler Skirts Jail

Ms. Elizabeth Roach has had quite a ride through the Federal court system so far. The long-time Vice Squad reader will recall that Ms. Roach is an oniomaniac -- a shopping addict. Between her shopping mania and her depression, well, she somehow ended up embezzling $240,000 from her employer. The trial judge felt sympathy, and departed downward from the sentencing guidelines (calling for at least a year of jail) via some home confinement, probation, restitution, and work release. The prosecution appealed the downward departure, and a Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that the sympathy was misplaced. On remand, Ms. Roach's sentence of a year in prison complied with the guidelines. Another appeal ensued -- this one from the defense -- but then the Supreme Court ruled that those pesky guidelines were only advisory, not mandatory. Yesterday saw the unveiling of what is likely to be the final chapter, as today's Chicago Tribune reports:
Elizabeth Roach was sentenced for a third time Monday for the same offense, averting prison for stealing nearly $250,000 from her employer to pay for a shopping addiction.

U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly sentenced Roach to 5 years' probation in large part so she could continue to undergo psychiatric treatment that has helped her with chronic depression and compulsive shopping.

The judge also ordered that she serve 3 months in work release followed by 9 months of home confinement.

Roach, 51, of Chicago has already paid more than $270,000 in fines and restitution.

Roach's lawyer, Jeffrey Steinback, said his client was relieved by the probation sentence and that the prosecution appears to be finally concluded.

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