SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

February 20, 2014

Woman admits to string of charges

SALEM — A Swampscott woman who blames post-traumatic stress disorder for a string of fraud and larceny cases will spend about another month in jail, after pleading guilty yesterday to the latest charges against her.

Prosecutors and a probation officer were seeking more time for Janine Wilson, 33, of 5 Alvin Road, pointing to her string of new arrests after she was given the opportunity to keep her record clean — twice.

Wilson had been given a continuation without a finding on charges that she stole a credit card from a customer on her dog-walking route and used it to buy liquor, food and clothes. Then, while still on probation in that case, she was charged with passing a bad check at one store and stealing a dress from another.

In January, after a judge gave her another chance at avoiding a permanent record by continuing the two newer cases without a finding, she was arrested a week later, charged with shoplifting a wallet from a downtown Salem store.

Two weeks after that, she was charged again, this time with altering prescriptions at a Target pharmacy.

Prosecutor Alex Grimes said Wilson’s “spurt of larcenous and fraud-type activities” merits additional jail time.

“There should be a punitive aspect,” Grimes said.

He argued that it shows disrespect to the court for her to “accept a continuation without a finding and almost immediately commit new crimes.”

Her attorney, Richard Callahan, said his client needs treatment, not a trip back to MCI Framingham, the state prison for women. “Clearly, she has issues.”

Wilson has spent about a month in custody following her most recent arrests.

Judge Robert Brennan imposed a 120-day jail term, along with two years of probation that will include high-supervision probation, mental health and substance abuse evaluations and treatment. She will be eligible for parole after completing 60 days of that sentence.

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