Woman pleads guilty to stealing from Vista Center residents

LISBON – A Jefferson County woman who worked as a nurse’s aide at a Lisbon care facility for the elderly and for mentally disabled adults pleaded guilty to stealing money from 31 of those residents.

Annette L. Sell, 47, of Toronto, pleaded guilty to felony theft charges during a hearing Friday in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court. Sell is scheduled to be sentenced on May 22, and the county prosecutor’s office is recommending she receive probation.

According to the indictment, Sell stole more than $1,000 from Vista Center residents over a 12-month period starting in May 2012. Chief Assistant County Prosecutor John Gamble said after the meeting that as part of Sell’s duties, she helped with the residents’ accounts, and she stole money from 31 residents while in the course of administering those accounts.

Court records accused Sell of specifically stealing $9,948, but Gamble said the Vista Center’s insurance carrier placed the figure at about to $4,200 based on its review of bank records and other related documents. He said that as part of the plea deal Sell is being required to make restitution to the Vista Center for about $5,000.

“What she did with the money, I don’t know at this point,” Gamble said.

He said the case was similar to one prosecuted several months ago, where an East Palestine woman was sentenced to two years in prison for stealing $44,750 from 29 mentally disabled adults indirectly in her care at Threshold Residential Services, also in East Palestine. In that case, the woman said she used the money to fuel her gambling habit.