Ex-Smithfield mayor sentenced for insurance fraud, theft

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio (AP) — The former mayor of an eastern Ohio village has been sentenced to seven months in corrections facilities after being convicted of charges including insurance fraud and theft in office.

Ex-Smithfield Mayor Patricia Freeland was reprimanded at her sentencing hearing Monday in Jefferson County, with the judge stating that the 74-year-old became a criminal immediately upon taking office.

Prosecutors say Freeland forged a document that was then submitted as a fraudulent insurance claim tied to a break-in at the village’s wastewater building in July 2009.

The insurance company made a partial payment for pumps that were never installed following the incident. The cash was instead deposited by Freeland into Smithfield’s general fund.

Freeland apologized, saying that her job as mayor along with the village’s shaky financial standing was too overwhelming.