Prison pittance to pay $1.5 million in restitution

ERIE – A federal court has ordered that a St. Marys woman's prison salary of between 12 cents and 40 cents an hour be used to pay over $1.5 million dollars in restitution to her victims. On Friday, May 10, Sandra Ann Prechtel, 51, of St. Marys, was sentenced to 51 months in a federal prison after pleading guilty to charges of mail fraud and tax evasion. Prechtel was charged in February of 2011 with embezzling $1,106,403.78 from Abbott Furnace Company of St. Marys while employed as the company's comptroller from 2002 to 2007. Prechtel was also indicted for her withholding payment of $428.595.84 in taxes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). In sentencing Prechtel, U.S. District Judge Sean J. McLaughlin ordered that she repay both amounts, in full, and use any wages earned in prison employment to do so.