No show of remorse prompts judge to hammer defendant
Lack of remorse from a former state-licensed settlement agent, convicted in June on three counts of embezzling money from a client’s mortgage payment, has prompted the judge in the case to impose a stiffer than recommended sentence.
Jacquelyn Wine Cool, 45, of 6923 North Hairpin Drive, Quinton, must serve a year in jail following sentencing on Aug. 23 in New Kent Circuit Court. Judge Thomas B. Hoover tossed out state guidelines that recommended incarceration in the one day to six months range.
“Not one time has Ms. Cool acknowledged the devastating effect on the victim,” Hoover said after reading excerpts from a statement written by the victim in the case.
“It’s her own selfish purpose of wanting to hire a private attorney and investigator to pursue divorce against her husband, and for this she ruins [the victim’s] credit,” the judge said. “The entire world seems to revolve around Ms. Cool. It’s all about Jacquelyn Cool.”
Hoover imposed five years in prison on each of the three charges, suspending all but one year for the next 20 years. Cool must also pay restitution to the victim and the bank involved as well as lawyer and auditor fees incurred. The total is just short of $41,000.
During trial in June, prosecutor Linwood Gregory said Cool functioned as a settlement agent overseeing loan and real estate closings. She forged signatures on checks she wrote to herself from a trust account, the prosecutor added, and thus did not pay off the victim’s home loan.
The case ended in a plea deal whereby Cool pleaded guilty to three embezzlement counts while two additional counts and a forgery charge were dropped.
Cool was freed on bond pending sentencing, but landed in jail after a New Kent deputy spotted her drinking beer at Colonial Downs. Back in court on July 12, Cool told Hoover she drank ginger ale and denied buying beer, but the judge found her in violation of bond terms by consuming alcohol and ordered her held until the Aug. 23 date.
At sentencing, Cool admitted lying to the judge over the Colonial Downs incident. She said prescription drugs she takes for depression and marital problems played a part in her troubles.
Defense attorney C. Randall Stone argued for no jail time, saying his client’s life fell apart, she made mistakes, and she intended to pay back the money.
“She needs to get out of jail to care for her kids and pay restitution,” Stone told the court.
But Hoover remained adamant, noting that the victim’s impact statement revealed sleepless nights and fears of home foreclosure. The judge did not impose additional time for the bond violation.
In other cases on Aug. 23, two New Kent women pleaded guilty in separate cases involving welfare fraud.
Yvonne D. Hurley, 62, of 5201 Farmer’s Drive, Barhamsville, pleaded guilty as part of a plea deal to a misdemeanor charge of welfare fraud. She had been indicted earlier on a felony version.
Gregory said Hurley applied for food stamps in February 2008 and signed a statement saying she did not receive Social Security benefits. A short time later, she began receiving benefits, which would have disqualified her from food stamps, but she failed to notify New Kent Social Services.
Hoover imposed 12 months in jail, all suspended for five years. Hurley must repay $810 to the county.
In another plea deal, Doris Cowles, 52, of 20625 Braxton Road, Barhamsville, pleaded guilty to three counts of perjury and two counts of welfare fraud stemming from 2005-07.
Gregory said Cowles failed to report income earned by her children, who were living at her home, on applications for public assistance.
Following terms of the plea deal, Hoover sentenced Cowles to five years in prison on each charge, suspending all but one month for the next 10 years. Cowles is allowed to serve the time on weekends. She must pay $10,188 in restitution to the county.
In another case, Roshawn Jerome Cooke, 22, of 8539 Willis Road, Gloucester, pleaded guilty to an amended charge of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and a felony marijuana distribution charge. Earlier, Cooke had been indicted for grand larceny auto.
Last Feb. 10, an informant working for the Twin Rivers Narcotics Task Force made a $250 marijuana buy from Cooke. Then on Feb. 19, Cooke took a 2009 Pontiac G-6 belonging to PV Holding Company in Newport News.
Following terms of a plea deal, Hoover sentenced Cooke to five years, all suspended for 10 years, on the drug charge and 12 months, all suspended for five years, on the vehicle use count.
State guidelines in the matter recommended no jail time. Cooke, however, forfeited $618 in cash found on his person when he was arrested on Feb. 19.