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Lottery ticket thief sentenced

Jan 11, 2008, 8:38 am

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New York Lottery

East Greenbush woman to serve six months of weekends in jail despite pleas for leniency

An East Greenbush woman who admitted stealing a $25,000 winning lottery ticket was sentenced Thursday to six months of weekends in jail, despite pleas from her attorney that the court show some mercy and drop the jail time.

Kelly Clifford, 21, appeared before Judge Robert Jacon for sentencing last week, when her lawyer, John Kelleher, asked for "compassion" for his client.

During that appearance, Kelleher insinuated that a plea deal, made a couple of months ago under the administration of then-District Attorney Patricia DeAngelis, may have been too harsh. He said a former assistant district attorney, let go by incoming District Attorney Richard McNally, "wanted to see my client taken to the gallows."

Jacon gave Kelleher a week to confer with the new district attorney, but McNally, who stepped in as the prosecutor for the sentencing, told Jacon Thursday his office was not inclined to alter the deal.

Kelleher repeated his request for less jail time, but apologized for giving the impression a week earlier that the new administration may be more merciful than the previous. He said his arguments were based on a pre-sentencing report not previously available that showed Clifford had a rough time growing up, took responsibility for her crime and had already paid full restitution.

Jacon did extend Clifford some mercy. He ordered that she appear at the jail at 6 p.m. Fridays and be released at 6 p.m. Sundays for the weekend incarcerations. Most people serving such sentences are not released until 6 a.m. Monday.

Clifford also must serve five years of probation on a grand larceny charge for stealing the ticket while working at the Mobil On the Run in East Greenbush.

On July 9, a 24-year-old Rensselaer woman took a lottery ticket to Clifford's store to determine if it was a winner. A clerk told her she'd won $25,000 and the woman left the store. A short time later she returned, realizing she had left the winning ticket at the store.

Clifford, the store manager, searched the store's trash bin with the victim's help and found nothing. The winner left and returned a little while later to search again. By that time, Clifford had found and pocketed the ticket.

Clifford, the clerk and another woman were later charged with cashing the ticket and splitting the winnings. The cases against the other women have been resolved, but those dispositions couldn't be immediately learned Thursday.

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