A Carbon County woman, who stole a large amount of money from a patient's account at a county health group, was sentenced to a prison term on Monday afternoon and ordered to make a large restitution amount.
She was one of three defendants who previously pleaded guilty to criminal counts who were sentenced by President Judge Roger N. Nanovic II.
Theresa A. Bernardi, 43, of Lansford, was sentenced to serve 90 days in jail followed by 90 days in the county's Intermediate Punishment Program (IPP) with electronic monitoring, which will be followed by four years of supervised probation. She was also ordered to make restitution of over $88,000 to the Blue Mountain Health Systems and its insurance carrier.
Bernardi was charged by Lehighton police with taking the money from a patient's account at the Summit Nursing Home while she was coordinator of the account, a position she held for 10 years.
Yesterday Nanovic called the situation "very mysterious" that Bernardi stole such a large amount of money over a three-year period and couldn't remember what she did with the money.
Nanovic noted in a presentence investigative report prepared by the adult probation department, that Bernardi could not tell investigators what she did with the money. She said she remembers paying bills and taking $300 at a time for other items.
Nanovic said it didn't make sense. He said based on the amount taken and the time frame, it meant Bernardi was taking, on average, over $30,000 a year from the patient's accounts.
Nanovic added, "There is some underlining issue here that is not being revealed."
Bernardi told the court, "I'm very sorry for what I did. I know it was a breach of trust."
She added that she could not remember where the money went.
She also claimed she has many health issues and was going to medical testing for a blood problem and asked that her jail term be delayed until all testing was finished.
Defense attorney Paul Levy told the court that his client could not offer him any explanation as to where the money went.
Nanovic also ordered Bernardi to get a mental health evaluation and follow any recommendation for treatment, and supply a DNA sample.
She will begin the jail term at 9 a.m. on May 15.
Alex J. Rehrig, 24, of Lehighton, was sentenced to serve five days to six months in jail on a driving under the influence (DUI) charge. Rehrig was arrested on Sept. 22, 2012, along Bridge Street, in Lehighton by state police. Given a test, the result was .12 BAC.
He was also ordered to pay a fine of $500, one-year license suspension, and get a drug and alcohol (D&A) evaluation and follow any recommendation for treatment.
He will begin the jail term at 9 a.m. on June 1.
Timothy W. Shultz, 38, of Kresgeville, was sentenced to serve five days to six months in jail on a DUI charge. He was arrested on March 18, 2012, along 57 Road in Towamensing Township by state police at Lehighton. Given a test, the result was .12 BAC.
He was also ordered to pay a fine of $750, one-year license suspension, get a D&A evaluation, and zero tolerance on D&A use.
He was given credit for 19 days spent in a rehab inpatient program and immediately paroled.
Each defendant must also pay court costs, which average close to $1,000, and pay a $50 per month supervision fee while on probation or parole.