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Former Education Association President Sentenced

The former president of the Wyoming Area Education Association was sentenced to prison Friday morning.
The former president of the Wyoming Area Education Association is going to prison.

Lisa Barrett was sentenced Friday morning at the Federal Courthouse in downtown Scranton for stealing from her fellow teachers' union.

Barrett resigned her position last March and was charged in September.

At first, investigators said she stole roughly $30,000 but Friday we learned that figure was much higher, nearly $60,000.

Barrett openly sobbed in the courtroom as she learned her fate.

The 48-year-old will spend 12 months in prison for embezzlement.

"To say the least, Lisa is devastated. We spent extra time in the courtroom afterwards just to console her and help her understand what she's facing," defense attorney Chris Powell said.

Barrett was charged with stealing the money from the Wyoming Area Education Association in September just as teachers went out on strike.

Over a six year period she used a union debit card for her own personal use at restaurants and stores, for travel expenses and even ATM withdrawls.

"She took responsibility from day one even before the FBI talked to her," Powell said.

The current head of the teachers' union was in court Friday.

"Changes have been made. There's an audit committee in place and things are being checked a little more closely," Melissa Dolman said.

After handing down his sentence, the judge told Barrett he was initally going to give her even more time in prison but reduced the amount because people in the community hold her in high regard and because she has a teenage son.

"We'll have to see what the future holds for her," Powell said. "There's a lot of consequential damages beyond the 12 month sentence."

Besides prison time, Barrett will also have to pay a $2,500 fine and spend two years on probation.

She will report to prison March 5th.

As of Friday, Barrett's attorney says she has made full restitution to the union.

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