Criminal Justice

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A disbarred Pennsylvania lawyer was sentenced to 1½ to 3 years in prison on Wednesday for stealing from her Harrisburg law firm and vandalizing its offices after she was fired.

Judge William Tully said he had considered a lower sentence for Nichole Ashley Collins until she made statements during the sentencing hearing that he found not entirely credible, PennLive reports.

Tully also sentenced Collins to pay more than $160,000 in restitution and to five years of probation.

Collins had been accused of stealing from the firm Shaffer & Engle by writing checks for expenses she did not incur and by failing to turn over cash payments she received from clients, according to a prior PennLive story. After taking the client cash, Collins would mark the client accounts as paid in full.

She is also accused of returning to the firm after her firing, pouring what she described as Gatorade on the computers, and ordering sex toys and delivering them to an office of a former worker. Collins described the sex toy purchase as “vengeful,” according to PennLive’s coverage.

Tully appeared skeptical when Collins said she didn’t know she wasn’t allowed to return to Shaffer & Engle after her firing. He also asked several questions about why she committed the crimes and was “visibly skeptical” about her answers.

Collins attributed her crimes to financial and marital problems, a gambling addiction and a bad reaction to a drug prescribed to treat her ADHD.

Collins said she would take everything back if she could. She said she lost her job, her law license and her husband, who is a county prosecutor. “I’ve lost everything,” she said.