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Ex-court employee sentenced for taking payments from probationers

A former state court probation officer who took payments from probationers to pay off fines or fees of other probationers avoided prison time Thursday and was sentenced to 400 hours of community service. 

Freeman Sasao, 55, was also ordered by Circuit Judge Karen Ahn to pay $5,005.35 restitution to Adult Client Services for the amount he stole from July 2011 to July 2013. He was sentenced for second-degree theft and second-degree forgery. 

Sasao apologized in court and explained that he didn’t pocket the money he received from probationers, but assigned the money to other probationers’ accounts, then forged receipts for the probationers who didn’t pay, said Deputy Attorney General Albert Cook. 

Sasao said he committed the theft and forgery because he felt the probationers he was helping couldn’t afford their payments. 

He also wrote receipts for the probationers who did pay him for fines, fees, or court costs.

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