A Florida woman was sentenced to seven years in prison for stealing her employer’s jewelry while employed as a part-time housekeeper by her 83-year-old victim.
Judge Richard “Ric” Howard handed Shanna Houle, 36, the sentence after Houle changed her plea to no contest. The State Attorney’s Office had charged Houle with one count of dealing in stolen property and two counts of falsification of ownership to a pawnbroker.
Houle told Howard she had been a drug addict and stole the jewelry to support her habit. Since the theft, Houle entered a drug program and her counselors, during the sentencing, told Howard that Houle had made great progress in admitting her guilt and trying to end her addiction to opioids.
The estimated value of the jewelry Houle stole was $6,573.99, according to court documents.
The victim’s daughter, Robin Savino, told Howard the jewelry was never recovered, including a ring belonging to her deceased father, and investigators think that the jewelry had been melted down to recover the precious metals.
Savino told Howard she thought Houle was using her drug addiction as an excuse to steal. She also pointed out that Houle was calculating when it came to deciding whom she would steal from.
According to court records, Houle stole the jewelry last year and twice in June 2019, went to a pawnshop, telling the business the jewelry belonged to her, and selling it.
Savino cited Houle’s extensive criminal conviction record for theft and other crimes and it shows that Houle continues her criminal behavior because there were never any consequences.
State prosecutors told Howard that Houle had 11 prior criminal convictions, four of which were felonies involving theft.
Houle told Howard she has three children, ages 17, 12, and an 8-year-old daughter she is giving up for adoption.
Howard sentenced her to seven years for dealing in stolen property and five years each for two counts of falsification of ownership to a pawn broker. The sentences will run concurrently.