A Pekin woman’s choice to withdraw and spend nearly $19,000 mistakenly deposited into her bank account produced a six-year prison term Friday.
Michelle Harshman-Nichols, 46, received the minimum sentence available in her theft case that was prosecuted at a Class X felony level because of prior convictions. She pleaded guilty last March.
Harshman-Nichols was accepted into Tazewell County’s Drug Court Program but withdrew from it after two months, making her eligible again for incarceration.
Police contacted her by phone shortly after Pekin Community Bank discovered last October that she had withdrawn $18,667 of a total of $23,282 that had been deposited into her account through a computer error.
She did not turn herself in, and claimed she thought the money came from the estate of her husband who had promised she’d “be taken care of” before he died two years earlier, court records stated.
An officer found Harshman-Nichols hiding in a parked car in November after police received tips that she had returned to Pekin. She told police she had spent the money she withdrew.
She must also repay all of the stolen funds to the bank.
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