Former CEO of Genesis Group Homes asked the judge for help

October 17, 2009 4:46:55 PM PDT
A Fresno businesswoman convicted of embezzlement has a new name, and a new plan to leave her past behind.Elaine Steitz was formally Elaine Bernard, but she married former Fresno City Councilman Ken Steitz last month.

Elaine Steitz said: "There's something liberating about just accepting where you're at."

Elaine Steitz talked with the media for the first time since leaving the Fresno County Jail in July.

In March, Steitz was jailed for violating her probation by attending social gatherings. The proof came with a picture published in a local magazine. A judge convicted her of stealing thousands from Genesis Family Center.

Elaine Steitz said: "I witnessed firsthand the devastation of drug and alcohol. I would say that 99-percent of the women I was fortunate to know had experienced those kinds of issues."

Steitz said she wants to help and counsel the type of women she met in jail. But she went to court Friday telling a judge that no one will hire her.

She owes $100,000 dollars in restitution and has no income. Prosecutor Regina Leary opposes any efforts to lower the amount.

Regina Leary, Prosecutor said: "She has to have some income to pay, but we agreed that was an appropriate amount of restitution on both sides."

In the end, Judge John Vogt refused to lower restitution, telling the probation officer to work with Steitz's situation.

Elaine Steitz said: "If I have a job, and I am employable, I fully intend to honor my commitment. So it's not an issue of not wanting to pay, it's just like they need to get in line behind everyone else who want something for me. "

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