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Menlo Park: Twin-sister psychologists sentenced to jail for theft of public funds

 

Lorie Palmer and Marlie Palmer, San Francisco psychologists who had offices in Menlo Park, were each sentenced to four months in San Mateo County jail and three years of supervised probation on Wednesday, Aug. 10, according to the District Attorney's Office.

The 39-year-old twin sisters pleaded no contest in June to one count each of felony theft of public funds in exchange for no more than a year in jail. The two had been accused of billing the state's Victim Compensation fund, through the District Attorney's Office, for more than $27,000 each for therapeutic sessions that did not take place.

The women were on a list of psychologists approved to provide therapy for victims of violent crime, and the false claims covered a period of two years, prosecutors said.

Their sentences will include restitution, but in amounts that have not yet been determined, prosecutors said.

While Judge Elizabeth Lee gave the women the option to delay their incarceration until Oct. 1, she also agreed to allow them to serve their sentences in an alternative work program rather than in jail, James Stevens, Marlie Palmer's defense attorney, told the Almanac.

Both women have been out of custody on $100,000 bail each. Their next court date is Aug. 30 to set a date for a hearing on restitution.

The sisters have given up their licenses to practice therapy, a step that the judge took into account in deciding on a sentence, Mr. Stevens said. The county probation officer reported that the sisters "definitely were remorseful" and "very sorry" for what they did, and that there was "no chance" of future criminal activity, Mr. Stevens said.

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