Former Rensselaer County billing clerk sentenced in theft of $200,000

Brenda Kennedy, a former Rensselaer County billing clerk who previously pleaded guilty to stealing more than $200,000 from the department of public health was sentenced in Rensselaer County Court Friday morning.

RENSSELAER, N.Y. — A former Rensselaer County billing clerk who previously pleaded guilty to stealing more than $200,000 from the department of public health was sentenced in Rensselaer County Court Friday morning.

Brenda Kennedy will serve one to three years in state prison, after the case comes to an end after several years.

The defense attorney, George Lamarche, tried to convince the judge to a sentence of 5 years’ probation and community service, saying Kennedy had three children ages 8, 10, and 13.

But the judge said that since Kennedy admitted to stealing a large amount of money — taken from taxpayers — state prison was appropriate.

Kennedy  previously admitted to taking more than $200,000 between January 2007 and August 2012 from the Rensselaer County Department Of Public Health.

Lamarche says he respects the judge’s sentence, but urged him to take in consideration her children.

“To be without their mother for one to three years at crucial stages of their growth and their life, the county doesn’t win she doesn’t win the children don’t win. My position was that there are alternative ways to sentence her that would effectively punish her rather than simply putting her in prison,” he said.

Lamarche recommended probation and community service, but District Attorney Joel Abelove didn’t take a position, and left it up to the court.

“We asked the judge to use his best judgment in fashioning a sentence given everything he knows about the case — that we all know about the case — and he did that,” said Abelove.

Along with a state prison sentence of one to three years, Kennedy paid $5,000 restitution up front along with fees, and will also pay the county back what she took.

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