Longaberger ex-caretaker sentenced for Ohio theft

ZANESVILLE, Ohio - A former caretaker of an eastern Ohio mansion owned by the Longaberger Co.'s CEO was sentenced to six years in prison for stealing $1.5 million from the basket company heiress, a theft that the defendant blamed on his desire for acceptance and love.

Douglas Thompson, of Pataskala, was sentenced Monday after previously pleading guilty to one count of aggravated theft for stealing from Tami Longaberger, CEO of the Newark-based basket-making company. Thompson also has agreed to pay Longaberger restitution.

Thompson, 53, was caretaker of Longaberger's $10 million, 200-acre estate from 2002 to 2011. Prosecutors said the thefts occurred between November 2004 and February 2011 when he was managing her personal finances.

Thompson's attorney, Kort Gatterdam, told the judge that Thompson gave away much of the money and bought gifts for family and friends so that he could feel loved. Gatterdam said that Thompson's actions were spurred by his low self-worth, not a pursuit of exotic vacations or luxury goods for himself, and that he thought he'd be accepted if he bought things for others, according to the Zanesville Times Recorder.

"I did everything I could to make Tami's life comfortable, and all I ever asked in return was her acceptance and recognition," Thompson told the court, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

Prosecutors said they were satisfied by the sentence and felt justice was served.

"If you steal money and then go down the street and give it to the poorhouse, you've still stolen money," Muskingum County Prosecutor Mike Haddox told the Dispatch.

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