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Sobbing and apologizing, a former Delaware County, Pa., court employee confessed Tuesday that she stole more than $450,000 from restitution payments owed to crime victims and that she used the money to pay her own bills — including her Victoria’s Secret charge account. Joan Frederick, 44, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to one count of bank fraud and eight counts of mail fraud. When Frederick is sentenced on June 21 by U.S. District Judge J. Curtis Joyner, she faces a prison term in the range of 21 to 27 months. But Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Wzorek said Tuesday that he intends to ask Joyner to stiffen the sentence because Frederick’s crimes caused a “disruption of governmental function.” Frederick’s lawyer, Jay S. Gottlieb, reserved the right to argue that the governmental disruption enhancement should not apply. When Frederick was asked by the judge about how she spent the money, she said that she gave some to charity, used some to pay her bills and that the rest was used to “buy things for people.” After pleading guilty, Frederick offered a sobbing apology to a nearly empty courtroom. “I’m sorry to the people I’ve hurt,” she said. “I wish I could turn back the clock… . I hope they can forgive me for what I’ve done.” Continuing, she said: “I’ve let those who trusted me down … . I just hope one day the people I hurt will forgive me.” Under the terms of her plea agreement, Frederick has promised to forfeit more than $287,000. She could also be ordered to make full restitution of the entire $455,471.84 that she stole. According to the indictment, Frederick was an employee of the Delaware County Office of Court Financial Services whose job included writing the checks sent to crime victims when convicted criminals made restitution payments to the county. The indictment said that between November 1996 and February 2000, Frederick made out 100 checks in the names of real and fictitious restitution victims and then forged the names of the recipients and deposited them in her own and her family members’ accounts at Sovereign Bank. After depositing the money in family members’ accounts, the indictment says, Frederick would withdraw the money for her own use by signing the family members’ names. In a separate scheme, the indictment says, Frederick issued checks from the Office of Court Financial Services’ bank account to pay her and her family’s credit card bills and other expenses. Between May 1997 and February 2000, the indictment says, Frederick diverted more than $177,000 from crime victims to pay her own bills, including her electric, phone and cable television bills and numerous credit cards and store charge accounts.

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