Sept 25th, 2010: The wife of a former state’s attorney was sentenced Friday to 11 years in prison for stealing nearly $138,000 from her church and setting a house fire in a failed cover-up.
Terri L. James, 42, wept as she read from a prepared statement apologizing to the church, the homeowners and to the Ottawa firefighters whose lives she put at risk setting the fire on March 17.
The judge noted James was in a position of authority (a bookkeeper) for First Congregational United Church of Christ, and she abused that trust by stealing funds as far back as November 2004.
The judge then sentenced James to a pair of 11-year sentences, for residential arson and theft, which will be served concurrently and with day-for-day good time. He also ordered her to make restitution to the church in the amount of $137,817.06. James has until five years after her release from prison, likely in late 2015, to make restitution.
Ryan was unable to order restitution for the home, which sustained an estimated $450,000 in damage, as insurers still are assessing the damage and working out a settlement.