By INEZ SHARABY & LA QUINTA CLARK
The woman who was fired from her City College job after she used her position to change her failing grade to an ‘A’ and stole money from a student, was sentenced to prison on Thursday for these two counts.
Shalanda Tolbert, 40, who was a student at the CUNY campus while working in the registrar’s office had been convicted of stealing of another student’s wallet containing $1,400.
One student found the wallet in the office and turned it in to Tolbert for safe- keeping. When grad student, Magdalena Algarin, came into the registrar’s office looking for her wallet, Tolbert told her, “It would be a shame if somebody took it,” the indictment alleged.
Tolbert was caught on surveillance camera placing the wallet behind her computer screen and was then seen taking the wallet to an area where there were no cameras where prosecutors said she stole the money.
Tolbert was also convicted for changing one of her grades from an ‘F’ to an ‘A.’
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Mark Dwyer sentenced Tolbert to 1 ½ to 3 years for the theft of the wallet and 2 to 4 years for her changed grade, to be served concurrently.
Dwyer recommended that the prisoner undergo the so-called Shock Incarceration Program, requiring approval by the Department of Corrections. The program is designed to shorten the offender’s sentence consists of strict, military style discipline, unquestioning obedience to orders, and highly structured days filled with drills and hard work.
The prosecution opposed the move.
“Someone who is a lifelong felon, starting after she graduated high school should not be recommended for the shock incarceration program,” said the Assistant DA on the case.
In 2005, Tolbert was convicted of identity theft and grand larceny and was arrested four times on theft-related charges. She was released in June 2008, according to state records. Tolbert’s yellow sheet dates back 15 years, and includes seven felonies and two misdemeanor arrests.
Tolbert said she wasn’t aware that her previous convictions would be held against her in this case.
Dwyer told Tolbert, “I recommend that you stop your criminal actions. You are ruining your life.”
Tolbert’s defense attorney, Evan Rock, said that the program was better than getting a longer prison sentence and that he was hopeful that she will be accepted, to which Tolbert agreed.
Tolbert was taken to jail where she awaits the Department of Corrections’ decision.