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Woman gets 18 months in theft from foster child

July 29, 1998

A Hagerstown woman was sentenced to 18 months in jail in the theft of money from a teenage girl who was in her foster care.

Jocelyn Patricia Smith, 34, of 36 S. Locust St., pleaded guilty Monday to felony theft and forgery in Washington County Circuit Court.

The victim, a 16-year-old girl who was in Smith's care, contacted Hagerstown City Police last December, complaining that money had been stolen from her savings account, court records said.

She said she opened an account at Harris Savings Bank on Dec. 8, and because she is a minor, Smith's name was included on the account, court records said.

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A short time later, Smith told the girl she was withdrawing $1,000 from the account to pay an outstanding bill that Smith said the girl owed to the Social Service Administration, records said.

The girl told police she was not aware she owed money to SSA and that's why she contacted police.

Detective Mark Holtzman contacted Smith and when she came to police headquarters, she admitted taking the money and spending it on herself.

Smith also admitted to Holtzman that she withdrew $1,500 more from the account on the same day the account was opened, court records said.

In addition to the 18-month sentence for felony theft, Judge Fred Wright imposed a two-year suspended sentence for forgery. Smith also was sentenced to four years' probation.

Restitution has been made, court records said.

- Marlo Barnhart

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