SHAMOKIN — A woman is locked up in Northumberland County after pleading guilty to taking money from a donation fund she created.
The account founded by Victoria Fortune, 25, of Coal Township was to benefit a family who lost a 13-year-old daughter in a house fire last year in Shamokin.
Instead, Fortune stole more than half of the $1,200 she collected through an online site.
Fortune pleaded guilty to theft Monday and was given one to 23 months in jail.
Here in Shamokin, people feel Fortune got off easy.
“I think she should get more time than that, that’s my point of view,” said Paul Maher.
“For someone to come out and put it in their own pocket, it’s bad. It brings bad vibes, brings back feelings. It’s just complete anger,” said Shamokin Fire Captain Stephen Jeffery.
The fire broke out inside the house on South Rock Street in Shamokin on December 10th.
Investigators say Melissa, a seventh grader known as Missy, was trapped in the attic and died from carbon monoxide.
Shortly after, Fortune started an online charity to raise money for Missy’s family.
Investigators say Fortune collected about $1,200 but spent more than half of that on herself.
Fortune’s neighbors here in Coal Township say she deserves to be punished.
“She was always nice to me and I’m surprised that she had done what she did, but if you do the crime, you pay, take the time,” said neighbor Linda Benson.
Shamokin Fire Captain Stephen Jeffery helped fight that fire and says not being able to save Missy was hard on fire crews.
He says Fortune preyed not only on a family but also a community in a time of grief.
“The guys at the end of the day go home and they’re feeling down, we have guys crying, we have people upset,” said Jeffery.
Along with jail time, Fortune was ordered to pay back the money she took.