COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho — A federal judge sentenced Lori Isenberg to five years in prison followed by three years of supervised release on Tuesday in the United States District Court for the District of Idaho in Coeur d'Alene on Tuesday.
Judge Edward Lodge sentenced Isenberg to 5 years for each count, but ordered them to be served concurrently.
Isenberg, 65, originally faced up to 30 years total for charges of wire fraud and federal program theft. The wire fraud charge carried a maximum sentence of 20 years, while the federal program theft charge carried a maximum sentence of 10 years.
Isenberg's daughters, April Barnes and Traci Tesch, were sentenced on Wednesday morning for their roles in the crimes.
Barnes will serve one month of home detention, followed by three years of probation and 100 hours of community service, according to court documents. She also has to pay fines and restitution totaling $11,685.92. She must also take a budgeting and finance management course.
Tesch will serve three years probation and 100 hours of community service, according to court documents. She also has to pay fines and restitution amounting to $15,456.75.
Documents said Judge Edward Lodge ordered Tesch to wear a key around her neck as a "reminder she holds the key to her future." She must also go to mental health and financial management counseling.
Earlier in April, Judge Lodge also ordered a woman, who was convicted of using fraud to obtain drugs from a hospital, to wear a charm bracelet with pictures of her children on it to deter her from using drugs or alcohol.
Isenberg's sentencing hearing started at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday in the United States District Court in Coeur d'Alene.
Isenberg pleaded guilty to the charges, which came after she stole more than $500,000 from the North Idaho Housing Coalition, according to court documents. The NIHC works with low-income families and Isenberg served as the coalition's executive director.
Isenberg has already paid $579,495.75 in restitution.
KREM's Taylor Viydo attended the sentencing hearing, which included victim impact statements.
Isenberg apologized to coalition members in attendance and her family at the hearing.
"I know there are no words. Saying 'I'm sorry' is totally inadequate for what I have done. I'm fully aware of the harm I did to the housing coalition," Isenberg said. "I will carry that burden and that shame. For that, there are no words I can say. 'I'm sorry' doesn't do it. There's no way I can fix this."
Viydo said the prosecutor recommended a 5-year sentence followed by supervision for Isenberg. The prosecutor also said Isenberg had paid back the over $500,000 in restitution he was demanded to repay.
"In truth and fact, this is stealing from the poor. It's a greedy and selfish act," the prosecutor said.
Victim impact statements were also given at the hearing.
Judge Edward Lodge spoke directly to Isenberg before announcing the sentence, talking about the fact that Isenberg's daughters got involved.
"You did the wrong thing. And a lot of people were hurt. This program was hurt. You have made felons out of your daughters," Lodge said.
Viydo said a manager from the Idaho Finance and Finance Association, which administered money to the NIHC, said Isenberg's thefts impacted about 20 low-income families.
Another victim statement given by an NIHC executive member called Isenberg's behavior "cold and calculated criminal actions," according to Viydo.
The executive described the victims as "real people ... without a safety net."
Isenberg's defense attorney argued that she was trying to make the coalition successful, and added that Isenberg didn't fight the criminal proceedings.
"She tried her best to do good," the lawyer said.
Court documents said that from 2015 to February 2018, Isenberg forged checks, overcharged tenants, bought personal items with an unauthorized credit card, opened accounts using her husband and daughters' names, and opened companies for the purpose of laundering money.
Isenberg was placed on administrative leave in January 2018 when an accountant found checks that had been forged using the names of board members.
Isenberg and her daughter, who had been hired in 2017, were fired from the NIHC shortly after the forged checks were discovered.
Larry Isenberg, Lori's husband, died under mysterious circumstances. Larry went missing on February 13, 2018 on Lake Coeur d'Alene.
The day after Larry went missing, court documents said Isenberg had sent an email to members of the NIHC board saying she would pay restitution and that she needed to be "punished for what she did." She also said would tell the NIHC everything after her husband's memorial service.
Larry Isenberg's body was found on March 1. Lori Isenberg has not been named a suspect in his death and she is not facing charges in the case.
Jessica Barnes and Amber Hosking, Isenberg's daughters, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit federal program theft.
Hosking was ordered to pay $16,500 in restitution and Barnes was ordered to pay $15,00 in addition to receiving three years probation.