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SP woman pleads guilty to grand theft

A South Point woman accused of stealing money from the South Point High Band Boosters and from her former employer admitted her guilt Wednesday in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court.

Sheila Pennisten, 41, of 106 Seventh St., pleaded guilty to two counts of grand theft and two counts of theft. She had initially been indicted on charges of theft and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.

Judge D. Scott Bowling placed Pennisten on five years community controlled sanctions under intensive supervised probation and ordered her to pay $17,899.29 to her two victims, the band boosters and Wesbanco. Her attorney, Mike Davenport, said the band boosters had been repaid the $3,500 she took from that organization.

Most of the four charges against Pennisten pertained to her work at Wesbanco. When asked if she had anything to say before sentencing, Pennisten said she planned to write letters of apology to her bank victims.

“They were my friends, unfortunately,” Pennisten told Bowling.

After the proceeding, Pennisten contacted The Tribune by email and said,

“I would like to express my sincerest apology for the regrettable situations I caused. I am well aware of the damage I caused. Full monetary restitution has been made. This restitution was made by a group of family, a very special “aunt” and friends that have been my support throughout this self inflicted mess. I feel a remedy has been made through our court system that brings a positive conclusion for me but most importantly my family. I am full of regret over the stress and havoc I brought upon my dear parents, friends, and family. In the future I hope move forward in a positive manner for those I have wronged and the community.”

Pennisten, the former treasurer for the band boosters, was indicted in May after school authorities learned money was missing from the band boosters account.

Pennisten, who was also branch manager for the Wesbanco branch in South Point, was also accused of writing loans to people without their knowledge and then keeping the money for herself.