SCRANTON — A former teacher from Luzerne County will spend one year in federal prison for stealing tens of thousands of dollars from the teachers union at Wyoming Area. We learned today in court she took a lot more money than was originally reported.
Lisa Barrett left the Federal Courthouse in Scranton surrounded by attorneys, with her head down and mouth shut. She’ll spend a year in Federal Prison for embezzling $59,000 from the teachers union for the Wyoming Area School District.
“We spent extra time in the courtroom afterwards just to console her and help her understand what she`s facing,” said defense attorney Chris Powell.
Barrett pleaded guilty to embezzlement in October. Investigators say she used the money for shopping and dining out from 2006 to 2012. Barrett resigned from her position as union president last year.
In court, she apologized to the judge. She said in her quest to please everyone, she became overwhelmed.
The current union president of Wyoming area says after all this happened, the Union has learned its lesson.
“Changes have been made. There`s an audit committee in place, and things are being checked a little more closely,” said union president Melissa Dolman.
The former union president’s attorney says Barrett has already paid back what she owes. In court, he mentioned she’s seeing a counselor for anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.
He wouldn’t comment on that after the sentencing. But it was obvious from the sobs inside the courtroom that the year-long sentence was much longer than Barrett and her attorney had hoped for.
“To me, that sentence is severe enough to send a message,” said Powell.
Barrett is free tonight. She has until March to start serving her prison time.