Wife of ex-Deerfield police chief sentenced to year in federal prison for embezzling from disabled father
The wife of former Deerfield police chief Michael Greeley was sentenced yesterday to one year and a day in federal prison for embezzling more than $250,000 from her father, a disabled military veteran whose monthly income she had been entrusted to manage.
The sentence was half of what prosecutors requested, but Judge Paul Barbadoro of Concord’s U.S. District Court said it would suffice, especially given Amy Greeley’s previously spotless criminal record.
“Good people do bad things,” Barbadoro said, noting several letters submitted to the court on Greeley’s behalf. “And yet, we have to hold them accountable when they do.”
As the sentence was announced, Michael Greeley, who abruptly retired from the department in December shortly after his wife pleaded guilty to the theft, buried his head in his hands. A friend and current police officer seated nearby laid his hand on his back. Amy Greeley, who is in her early 40s, sat quietly up ahead, her eyes flush from tears.
The theft unfolded over a decade beginning in 2002, when Greeley acted as her father’s fiduciary, tasked in part with managing his monthly disability checks from the Veterans Health Administration. Her father, who has been incapacitated for years, was living in a private care facility in Florida at the time. He has since been moved to a different facility in the state.
Greeley’s sentencing was originally slotted for March, but Barbadoro called it off after learning of a letter from her father’s current caregiver, which seemed to suggest Greeley could have used the money she took to better his living conditions.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald Feith told Barbadoro yesterday that the caregiver had been interviewed, and though there was no evidence Greeley knowingly withheld additional care from her father, there was also no evidence she once asked what more could be done. Feith also noted what he called a general lack of motive for the crime. Greeley, a former teacher, and her husband pulled in roughly $100,000 a year combined when they were both employed, he said.
“There just doesn’t seem any reason for the taking of the funds, and very little effort to see how to use the money to better his life,” Feith said.
Greeley’s attorney, Jeffrey Levine, said Greeley had assumed his needs were being met. He also said the couple had purchased a house just before the market collapse, that Greeley suffered from chronic pain due to a variety of illnesses, and that the relationship between Greeley and her father has long been tenuous. The father, he said, was an alcoholic and a “drifter” for much of her life.
“There was a long period of time when she just really didn’t have contact with him,” Levine said. Greeley last visited him with her daughter in 2004.
Levine had asked for one year of home confinement followed by two years of probation, plus 100 hours of community service, restitution and counseling. Her mother has already paid the restitution.
Feith said he understood “this was not the ideal father-daughter relationship,” but that in no way excused the crime. The victim, he noted, is “not happy with the situation.”
“He’s not happy with his life,” Feith said.
In letters to the court, however, several people close to Greeley framed her behavior in the context of a largely compassionate life. She once worked with children with special needs, and was known to visit ailing friends and help strangers routinely, they wrote.
Michael Greeley said in his letter that the family had fallen into dire financial straits over the years, and that Greeley had used the stolen cash to keep it from him.
“Amy doing something like this never ever crossed my mind, and speaking with her she said that she had no intention of taking any money,” he wrote. “But she did it to help our family survive.”
“Amy is not a criminal,” he added. “She is a good person that made a very bad decision.”
Greeley, for her part, was apologetic. She told Barbadoro during an emotional address that she had convinced herself stealing from her father “was okay because he was being taken care of.”
“I’m extremely sorry for what I’ve done,” she said, her voice wavering. “This is a burden of my own making that I am going to have to bear.”
Barbadoro said Greeley will be incarcerated at the federal women’s prison in Danbury. Her sentence begins next month.
(Jeremy Blackman can be reached at 369-3319, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JBlackmanCM.)