By Scott Sonner
Reno, NV (June 4, 2008)- A federal judge agreed Wednesday to spare a woman prison time after she admitted hiring a company to illegally chop down trees on national forest land at Lake Tahoe. Instead, U.S. District Court Judge Brian Sandoval accepted a plea agreement that ordered Patricia Vincent, 57, of Incline Village to do 80 hours of community service and pay $100,000 restitution, most of it to a nonprofit forestry organization.
The judge said he believed Vincent had been embarrassed and humiliated by the publicity of the case. “I do think you learned your lesson in this case and it was a very hard lesson,” Sandoval told Vincent at a sentencing hearing.
The judge also sentenced Vincent to one year probation, but immediately suspended the probation because she’s already paid restitution and completed community service. “The $100,000 is punitive. That’s a large amount of money,” Sandoval said.