JANESVILLE

A man who helped steal money from a developmentally disabled woman was sentenced Thursday in Rock County Court to three years of probation.

Charles R. Hughes, 30, of 1816 Harrison Ave., Beloit, also was ordered to pay $1,500 restitution.

Hughes and Charli M. Pote, 33, of 2915 S. Potter Road, Orfordville, were charged in September with party to theft from an at-risk person.

Hughes’ lawyer, Michael Murphy, said his client has a long-term drug-abuse problem, and he is entering a one-year inpatient program in Milwaukee this month to get clean.

Judge Barbara McCrory indicated she had considered stiffer punishment because Hughes helped victimize a trusting person with a disability.

But Hughes’ entry into the program and the restitution requirement convinced McCrory to go along with the plea agreement between the prosecution and defense, she said.

McCrory warned Hughes that any missteps during probation could send him back to her courtroom, where she could sentence him to up to six years in prison.

Hughes told police he met the victim at church, and he twice asked her for loans so he could buy cocaine, according to the criminal complaint.

The complaint also describes Hughes telling Pote that the victim had received a disability check, and she began texting the victim, acting as if she were Hughes and convincing her Hughes was her boyfriend, according to the complaint.

Pote told the victim Hughes lost his job, and the victim offered to give Pote and Hughes $100, according to the complaint.

Pote told police they used the money so they could smoke crack cocaine.

Pote pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, party to theft, and was sentenced Jan. 2 to a year in the Rock County Jail with work-release privileges.

Pote and Hughes are cousins who also threatened they would “choke the life out of” the victim in order to extract cash from her, according to the complaint.

The woman withdrew $260 from a bank, and Pote also took two TV sets and a gaming console from her.

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