Disgraced former Oxford Tax Collector Karen Guillet did not ask forgiveness of the town from which she stole more than $200,000 when given the opportunity Wednesday at Milford Superior Court. She felt that she did not deserve it.
"...I’m deserving of the town’s scorn, anger and bitterness," she said. "All I ask is that the town be able to find some peace to know that I will be punished, and punished severly, for the crime that I committed against them. I also hope that in some fashion they will be able to move on."
Her attorney, Dominick Thomas Jr., argued for a sentence of 18 months. But Judge Richard Arnold utlimately decided that betraying the public's trust deserved more time and handed down a sentence of 12 years, suspended after four served, with five years probation. Guillet was also ordered to pay restitution in full amount she is charged with stealing, $242,903, though many believe the amount was much higher.
Prior to the sentencing, State Attorney Kevin Lawlor said, “You're not just reaching into the till and taking money, you're stealing from your fellow citizens.”
“She betrayed the public, not just once, not twice, but on an almost daily basis,” Lawlor added.
Oxford First Selectman George R. Temple also offered his thoughts:
“Karen was highly respected and generous to all of her friends. Her excesses were legendary. She always had new Jaguars, shopped at exclusive boutiques, went on lavish trips, and even had a $1,000 pair of shoes."
"...When a family of five is struggling to put groceries on the table because both parents are unemployed, they are not asked to show symphathy for the defendant's compulsive need to be noticed and loved,” Temple added, referencing a recent encounter he had with the family while they were in line to pay their taxes at town hall.
Guillet, 62, pleaded guilty to charges that she stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from the town through a scheme while she served in her role as the elected tax collector, a position she held in Oxford for 24 years.
To avoid a trial, she accepted a plea deal that called for her to serve 12 years in prison with a possible suspended sentence after five years served. And she is being asked to pay restitution to the town in the amount of $242,903. However, a state police investigation only goes back so far because police were able to prove she stole enough to charge her to the full extent of the law. Town officials conducted their own investigation and discovered she stole more than $670,000 over just the last five years of her tenure.
Read the story based on the arrest warrant affidavit here.
Patch will update this article later today.