ELLSWORTH, Maine — A former corrections officer has begun serving her sentence after being convicted of stealing more than $10,000 from Hancock County.

Janine Gardner, 54, of Ellsworth was sentenced in late June to serve 60 days in jail. She received an overall sentence of 30 months behind bars with all but 60 days suspended and two years of probation upon her release. She also was ordered to pay $11,551 in restitution and to serve 200 hours of community service.

Gardner, a former corrections officer at the Hancock County Jail, was charged in late 2009 with class B theft for stealing the money by falsifying her time sheets at the jail between September 2005 and October 2009, police have said. A class B crime is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and up to a $20,000 fine.

In April 2010, Gardner entered a guilty plea that allowed her to stay out of jail for a year to give her time to pay restitution and to complete the community service.

Carletta “Dee” Bassano, Hancock County district attorney, said Monday that Gardner has repaid the money in full and completed the community service portion of her sentence. She said her office had recommended a maximum of 90 days behind bars if she met those requirements before sentencing.

At her June 24 sentencing, Justice Kevin Cuddy ordered Gardner to serve 60 days behind bars and granted her a stay of one day. Gardner began serving her jail time on June 25, according to Bassano.

Gardner’s defense attorney, Jeff Toothaker of Ellsworth, said Monday that his client sold her house and “all her worldly possessions” in order to come up with the restitution funds.

Toothaker and Bassano each said that because she had been a corrections officer at Hancock County Jail, Gardner is not serving her jail time there. Each said they are not sure where she is incarcerated.

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Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....