A federal judge has sentenced a former North Canton financial adviser to four years in prison for embezzling clients’ money.
Vicki L. Perchinske took more than $500,000 from clients she advised as a financial consultant.
A federal judge in Cleveland on Wednesday sentenced the 49-year-old Plain Township woman to four years in prison and ordered her to pay restitution to FirstMerit Bank.
Perchinske, who worked at FirstMerit’s North Canton branch, pleaded guilty in August to one count of bank fraud. She will begin serving her sentence at a later date.
Perchinske stole the money — often tens of thousands of dollars at a time — between December 2004 and September 2010 by targeting the accounts, annuities and other investments of at least five elderly bank customers, according to the indictment.
North Canton police began investigating last year after family members of an 86-year-old nursing home resident reported $55,000 missing from the woman’s accounts.
The FBI’s Canton office and FirstMerit’s corporate security also investigated.
Defense attorney Jeffrey Jakmides said his client used the money to buy things for other people, and that there was no indication that drugs, alcohol or gambling played a role.
The bank, which compensated the victims, lost approximately $535,000, according to the indictment, although the amount could be higher.
Jakmides said authorities have already seized assets from Perchinske worth $118,000.
FirstMerit has also filed a civil lawsuit in Stark County Common Pleas against Perchinske seeking to recover the stolen money, as well as punitive damages.