Family finds court-ordered restitution can be empty promise from the legal system

Better Call Jackson

Fannie Baker spent her final days in a local assisted living facility and her family was pleased with the facility and the care she received.

The Bakers say that facility had a not-so-nice former employee, accused of taking Fannie’s jewelry and replacing it with fakes, hoping the aging owner would not notice.

That former employee reached an agreement in a Delaware County court that she reimburse the Bakers for the stolen property, which totaled $15,000. All of the stolen items were pawned.

The Bakers received a few monthly payments of more than one hundred dollars but typically, the payments were about $25. 

Suddenly, those payments stopped, so the family contacted the Delaware County probation officer.

“So, I called the probation office and they said, well she’s off probation and we have no more supervision of her,” said Bill Baker, Fannie’s son.

It seems the Baker family is more upset with the system that allows the defendant to stop the payments.

“I’m all about forgiving stupid, but I’m not about forgiving the justice system for telling us, ‘well, tough break, we see this a lot,'”, said daughter-in-law, Suzy Baker.

Better Call Jackson took those concerns to the Delaware County Prosecutor.

County Prosecutor Carol O’Brien is familiar with cases like this.

“In a lot of cases, it’s an empty promise from the judicial system that you’re going to be made whole”, says O’Brien.

She goes on to say, “The idea of restitution has been in place a long time and the hope is always that the person who stole the property, took the services who cheated someone, will take responsibility for that and make the payment. But, it just doesn’t happen very often.”

One option for the Baker family is small claims court, but the attorney fees will pile up and if the defendant cannot pay, they’re back to square one.

Suzy Baker says if there is any advice she would offer to others, it’s to have your family member not wear expensive jewelry, or leave the nice pieces at home.

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