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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Convicted Embezzler Sentenced For Lying To Get A Lighter Sentence

PHILADELPHIA - Katherine M. Harrell, 31, of Fernwood, PA, who lied to a U.S. District Court Judge during a previous sentencing hearing on her embezzlement conviction, was sentenced today to 70 months in prison.  Harrell was being sentenced in February 2012 for stealing more than $500,000 from United Savings Bank where she was employed as a branch manager.  In asking for leniency, Harrell told the court that her brother had been in a car accident, was in a hospital bed in her living room and would have to go to a nursing home if Harrell could not care for him.  The statement was a complete fabrication.  Harrell further falsely stated that she did not have any parents and that her young child would be placed in foster care if she could not care for him.  Harrell’s parents were alive and Harrell’s mother had agreed, prior to sentencing, that Harrell’s child could continue living with Harrell’s parents if Harrell were sent to jail.  Based on the fabrications, U.S. District Court Judge Anita Brody sentenced Harrell to one day in prison, followed by supervised release.  It was subsequently discovered that the pleas that Harrell made for leniency were lies. 

Harrell pleaded guilty, on December 17, 2012, to corruptly influencing the due administration of justice. In fashioning today’s sentence, U.S. District Court Judge Eduardo Robreno considered the punishment Harrell would have faced had the court known that the defendant was being untruthful at her first sentencing.  He also ordered Harrell to undergo substance abuse treatment, pay a $500 fine, and ordered three years of supervised release.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Karen L. Grigsby.

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Updated December 15, 2014