CHICAGO (AP) -- A woman who stole nearly a quarter of a million dollars from her former employer has avoided prison by convincing a judge she went on shopping sprees to fight depression.
Lawyers for Elizabeth Roach and the government said they believe U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly's ruling Wednesday is the first time a federal judge reduced someone's sentence because of a shopping addiction.
In pleading guilty to a single count of wire fraud last June, Roach admitted she stole $241,061 over three years by padding her expense accounts. Roach, 47, faced as much as 18 months in prison.
Instead, Kennelly sentenced her to five years probation, six months confined to her home on weekends and six weeks incarcerated in a Salvation Army work-release center.
Kennelly also fined her $30,000, ordered her to continue psychiatric counseling and said she could not sign up for new credit cards or incur additional debt without his permission.
The judge said sending Roach to prison would only disrupt her therapy. Kennelly said he found her chronic depression "the driving force" behind her thefts.
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