Brooks pleaded guilty to a single county of felony theft in an agreement with prosecutors that avoided jail time and dropped an embezzlement charge. She faced as much as 15 years in prison.
"All I can say is it's an embarrassment," Brooks told the judge during the hearing in
Brooks pleaded guilty to charging
She also charged visits to hair salons, phone services, gas station purchases and an electric bill payment from an address in
Assistant State's Attorney
"We saw no repayments to the account," he said. "These transactions were not in the best interest of the homeowner's association."
Despite the charges, Cogan encouraged Jaklitsch to sentence Brooks to community service, citing poverty and illness.
Her primary income is a
Jones, whose district includes the Still Meadows condos, said he has known her for years and told the judge she remains an asset to the community who is still held in high esteem by her neighbors.
"When she finds herself now, your honor, trying to explain what happened she is without words," Jones said. "She has never felt as deeply troubled as she does now."
No one from the association spoke during the hearing.
Brooks left the courtroom using a four-wheeled walker for support, surrounded by her with family. Despite the plea, she said the restaurant charges were for association business and that details of some of the charges were wrong.
"I've never been to
She chose to plead guilty because a trial would have postponed planned back surgery.
"I'm not going to put myself through that," she said.
Volunteer members of the board not only help maintain the grounds but spent time building a case against Brooks, said Langley, who has since moved from the community.
She said the money taken from the association was generated by monthly condo fees ranging from
"To actually recover fully (the association) needs another five years," Langley said.
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