A Le Roy mother accused of stealing $6,200 from a nursery school where she served as treasurer will spend five years on probation, Judge Robert C. Noonan ruled this morning.
Jennifer M. Riggi, 29, of 47 Lake St., Le Roy, will also serve on community work details each weekend for the next two months.
Riggi, speaking hoarsely and softly, said in halting sentences, "I admit it was wrong. I feel awful that it happened. It's a mistake I made."
On Feb. 27, Riggi plead guilty to grand larceny, 4th. As part of her plea deal, she was required to make restitution prior to sentencing, which she did.
Meg Roberts, president of the board of directors for the school, said Riggi's actions were harmful to the school.
"We trusted you to help run the school for our children and your children as well," Roberts said. "You completely misled us that you had the best interest of the children at heart.
"You had direct knowledge about how misappropriating funds would hurt the school and our ability to pay our teachers. I never would have expected another mother to steal from our school."
Noonan said he really didn't understand Riggi's motivation.
"When I read the presentence investigation on somebody who violated the trust of an institution or organization that vested them with (financial responsibility), I'm really trying to look for a reason why," Noonan said.
"Some would do it often times because of drug or other substance abuse issues. Sometimes it's a gambling problem. Sometimes it's a drastic change in financial circumstances. Often times people say, as you did, that they intended at the time to return what they took and just got in over their heads.
"But with a spouse who has adequate income so that you're not forced into the position where you must steal to feed your children, it does suggest a real character flaw. That is something you are going to have to deal with, not just for the period of probation term, but for the rest of your life.
"What could make you feel that you could go and take money just because it was available to you, I don't understand," Noonan concluded. "It's not my job to understand it. It's just a curiosity to me."