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Former treasurer sentenced for theft

Dunlap pleaded guilty to taking Winburne Fire Company funds

CLEARFIELD — A Clearfield County Fire Company may have felt a bit of deju vu Monday as a second woman accused of stealing from the department was sentenced.

Sarah Yvonne Dunlap, 37, of Winburne pleaded guilty to three felony counts each of theft by unlawful taking and access device fraud for using a Winburne Fire Company credit card for things such as a trip to the Poconos.

Dunlap, who was the treasurer for the company, reportedly started using the card in January 2016, just a few months after former treasurer, Brittany Nicole Bell, was caught stealing funds totaling $43,000.

Bell, who paid $30,000 in restitution prior to her sentencing in October 2016, pleaded guilty and was sentenced by Judge Paul Cherry to 90 days to one year in the county jail.

Dunlap was not so lucky. She had signed an “open” plea agreement, leaving the sentence up to the judge.

Fire Company Chief Harold Davis told Judge Fredric J. Ammerman that Dunlap put the firefighters’ lives at risk by wasting the money on her own personal needs rather than the funds being used for fire equipment.

After arguments from Dunlap’s attorney, Ken Pennington, that she had no prior criminal record and should receive a minimum three- to 12-month county jail sentence, Deputy District Attorney Trudy Lumadue said it is fortunate that the fire company decided to obtain insurance in case of future thefts or the company might have been in worse financial shape.

Lumadue asked Ammerman to consider that he could give Dunlap a minimum of up to 18 months for each count and pointed out that Dunlap had not paid any of the restitution, which totals more than $55,000.

Dunlap told Ammerman that she regrets her decisions and admitted there was no excuse for what she did.

Ammerman sentenced Dunlap to a total of 18 months to five years in state prison.

According to the affidavit, Dunlap made numerous unauthorized transactions for trips, food, vehicle payments, online shopping and cash with the card until August 2018.

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