ELYRIA — The former assistant to a blind Elyria attorney pleaded guilty Wednesday to three counts of theft for stealing $21,300 from his legal practice.
Nancy Haylor, 59, could get up to five years in prison when she is sentenced later this year.
Carl Rose, the attorney who discovered Haylor had been stealing from him after he had fired her because bills were being paid late, said he was pleased by the plea but still feels betrayed.
“I tried to treat her good as an employee, like a part of my family,” he said.
Rose hired Haylor in May 2005 at the request of the Ohio Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation. A few months later, she began writing checks to herself from his business account, he said.
He said he never conducted a background check on Haylor, trusting that the state wouldn’t have sent a thief to work in his office.
But Haylor has a previous conviction for stealing a night deposit from the Elyria Holiday Inn when she worked there in 2001. Rose said he learned about that conviction when he began digging into Haylor’s background after she refused to return tax documents to him.
Bill Willis, Haylor’s attorney, said his client plans to repay Rose for the money she took, but there is some dispute over how much that is. He said Rose confronted Haylor at her apartment after discovering the theft and demanded that she repay him.
Willis said Haylor estimates she gave Rose between $4,000 and $5,000 worth of merchandise. Rose said the stuff he got — an old television set, a microwave and other electronics — couldn’t have been worth more than $1,000.
Still, he said, he’s willing to call it even if Haylor repays him $20,000.
Rose also has a lawsuit pending against the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission, which runs the Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation, accusing the agency of negligence for failing to inform him of Haylor’s criminal history. Agency officials have said it was Rose’s responsibility to perform a background check.
Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or firstname.lastname@example.org.