WARREN, OHIO — A woman was sentenced Tuesday to 60 days in jail and 200 hours of community service after her hearing impaired parents were defrauded of $50,000 in what the Newton Falls police chief said is one of the “wildest” cases he has seen.
Jessica DeMarco, 30, was ordered by Trumbull County Common Pleas Court Judge Andrew D. Logan to pay her parents $7,500 in restitution, the amount the couple requested, according to the court. She also was sentenced to five years of probation, ordered to undergo a drug and alcohol assessment and comply with the results, avoid drugs and alcohol and the places it is served. She must also get a job, get a mental health assessment and comply with the treatment recommendation.
She was ordered to pay court costs, probation fees and must take a class offered through the Victim / Witness Assistance Division of the Trumbull County Prosecutor’s Office, according to the court. She will not get credit for time she already served in jail.
“We had proof of forged counterfeit letters from an attorney that had never heard of (DeMarco). There were letters and emails on letterhead that made her parents believe she was getting a large sum of money from an auto accident. This was never the case,” Fixler said. “This financially devastated her parents and some other people involved.”
DeMarco pleaded guilty in January to one charge of theft from a person in a protected class, a felony that carries a potential maximum sentence of eight years in prison. DeMarco was booked Tuesday into the Trumbull County Jail. She was held there on a $20,000 bond from August until December. But her parents got her out on bond, Fixler said.
“They have love for their daughter,” Fixler said.
The investigation began when someone came to repossess her parents’ car, Fixler said.
“She was entrusted by her parents to pay bills and take care of certain obligations. They believed the money was going toward the bills and that more money was coming from the accident settlement. The house, where they all lived, and the vehicle was never paid,” Fixler said.
DeMarco even made fake text messages about the supposed legal matter to convince her parents, Fixler said. When the attorneys in Cleveland were contacted, they said they had never heard of DeMarco, he said.
“In 45 years of law enforcement, this is one of the wildest cases I’ve ever seen,”Fixler said. “It’s a shame what happened. Everyone got hurt in this. Her father retired early in anticipation of this money coming in. And being hearing impaired means you can’t just go out and get another job easily.”
Fixler said the case was challenging, but investigators did their jobs well.