ANCHORAGE (AP) -- An Anchorage woman has been sentenced to spend five days in jail for pretending she was pregnant last year and collecting more than $500 dollars worth of gifts and cash.
Erica Duran, 24, also was ordered to seek mental health counseling, to reveal her criminal history to future employers and to pay $854 to the funeral home which arranged a memorial service for her imaginary stillborn twins.
Duran pleaded no contest to theft Wednesday in Anchorage Superior Court.
Duran was charged with felony theft last year after she told co-workers she was pregnant. The case came to light after police investigated a claim made by a former employer, whose daughter told police that she got suspicious after Duran told her the twins she was expecting were delivered stillborn in an ambulance.
Before her sentencing, a tearful Duran told Judge Stephanie Rhoades that she never did anything to trick anyone, that she thought she was pregnant.
Rhoades, however, replied, ''There was clearly a point that you knew you were not pregnant.''
Duran's attorney, Julie Moudy, said Duran lied about being pregnant because her husband put pressure on her to become pregnant. The husband even hinted he might leave if she suffered another miscarriage as she has in the past, said Moudy, who called the case one of the most unusual of her career.
''Erica Duran is not a thief or a liar,'' Moudy said ''Ms. Duran is an abused woman.''
But prosecutors said Duran has a habit of lying and stealing from employers.
Assistant District Attorney Bonnie Lembo said Duran stole $12,000 last year from a bank where she worked as a teller. Duran spent one day in jail and is on probation for five years for that crime, Lembo said.
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