AUGUSTA — A health care worker who stole up to $30,000 worth of rare coins from an elderly and disabled man while he was being treated at an Augusta hospital was sentenced to 14 days in jail and will be required to pay back $21,632.23 to the victim’s family.

The outcome was reached through a plea agreement Tuesday at the Capital Judicial Center.

The victim, William Jasko of South Thomaston, died at the age of 73 about five months after his coins, which were an investment for his family, were stolen by Sarah L. Jones, 54, of Jefferson. Jones had been working as an aide at MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta, where Jasko had been admitted following a car crash.

Jones pleaded guilty to the theft.

Jasko’s daughter, Bethany Martin of California, said she believes the stress of the incident contributed to her father’s death, following a cardiac event, as well as a stroke suffered by her mother, Jenny Jasko, shortly after. She said the punishment for Jones was too light for someone who took advantage of a vulnerable person in their time of need while they were hospitalized, and the just over $20,000 in restitution Jones was ordered to pay doesn’t come close to either the $29,000 that her father paid for the coins or their potential longer-term value as an investment. And she fears Jones may still be taking care of elderly people who could become her next victims.

“This event caused my father a tremendous amount of stress — he died less than five months later,” Martin said. “So I do believe it could have indirectly contributed to his death. The fact she’s paying such a low amount of restitution makes it feel like this is favoring the defendant. And if you prey on the vulnerable people in our society, you’ll be let off. Fourteen days is nothing compared to the stress of what our family has gone through.”


Superior Court Justice Deborah Cashman, who after hearing from Martin and Jenny Jasko called the lawyers for both sides into her chambers before returning to the courtroom, told Jones her behavior, taking advantage of someone while they were vulnerable, was inexcusable.

But she also acknowledged the state would face a challenge proving, were the case to go to trial, that Jones was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt without the testimony of  the victim, the late William Jasko, and that the case would have been a largely circumstantial one.

“It is unacceptable to take advantage of people not otherwise able to defend themselves, or take care of their belongings, in the hospital,” the justice said. “Because of the unfortunate passing of the victim, and as I understand it much of the testimony would have come from (William Jasko) … there are inherent risks in a trial, and if I were to reject this sentence, the next step would likely be a trial.” She said there is a very real chance the state would not be able to overcome the requirement to prove to a jury that Jones was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Prosecutor Daniel Feldman, an assistant district attorney, said the state would be able to prove the coins were worth $21,632.23 after talking with multiple shops and coin dealers who bought and sold the coins after Jones had sold them to an Auburn shop, Republic Jewelry and Collectibles.

Feldman said a woman later identified as Jones was seen on a surveillance video selling the coins in Auburn, where she also provided her name and a copy of her license.

When police reached Jones she acknowledged she had previously worked at MaineGeneral and that she had pawned the coins, claiming she had gotten them from her aunt who had died three years prior.


Martin said her father had the serial numbers of the coins so they were able to be identified. And the numbers on the coins that the shop bought matched her father’s collection.

Police spoke to coin dealers who said it would be almost unheard of for someone to have the exact same collection of rare coins.

Jones first called in sick and then resigned from MaineGeneral after the theft was discovered, Feldman said. A MaineGeneral spokesperson confirmed Tuesday that Jones does not work at the hospital.

Jones’ lawyer, David Paris, said the plea agreement was reached following a settlement conference with a judge.

“She’s here to take responsibility,” Paris said of Jones, who wore a black, scrub-style shirt decorated with cartoon alien characters on it and the words “adorable I am” written on it. “The victim in the case is now deceased, and we’re certainly recognizing that. This is really a circumstantial case, but if the jury believed it my client would be facing substantial consequences.”

Jones, when asked by Cashman whether she believed she’d be found guilty if a jury believed all of the state’s evidence as presented, said “Yes, your honor.”


She paid $2,000 toward restitution Tuesday, with payments of $500 a month to follow.

Jones was indicted in May 2021 on a Class B charge of theft. Class B crimes are punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

The plea agreement reduced that to a Class C theft charge, punishable by up to five years in prison, still a felony charge.

However if Jones complies with the terms of her three-year deferred disposition agreement, the charge would be further reduced, to a Class D misdemeanor, and she would serve the agreed-upon 14 days in jail.

If she does not comply with the terms of the agreement, which include that she pay the $21,632.23 in restitution within three years and not commit any additional crimes, she could face an open sentencing of up to five years on the Class C theft charge.

Martin expressed frustration that the district attorney’s office would not release the police report of the incident to her and only notified her family about the plea deal last week.

Jenny Jasko, who lives in New Jersey, used a walker to step up to testify in court Tuesday, saying, “My husband was very upset and it caused me a lot of stress too. I just think it snowballed into a big mess for our whole family.”

The theft occurred between July 1 and 14, 2020. Feldman said William Jasko had the coins with him in a bag when he was admitted to the hospital, after being in a car crash. After he was released he realized the coins were missing. He told police Jones had been in his room and he believed she could have stolen them. The coins were then sold in a series of transactions and, Feldman said, were believed to no longer be recoverable.

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