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Scammer Ordered to Spend Next 5 Christmases in Jail

By Aditi Mukherji, JD | Last updated on

An Ohio woman will spend her next five Christmas holidays in jail as punishment for a driver's license scam.

One can only wonder about her stocking stuffers... Soap on a rope, anyone?

Scrooge Judge Michael J. Holbrook imposed what many refer to as the "Holbrook holidays" sentence on Betina Young, 44, for issuing state ID cards and driver's licenses to immigrants who'd entered the country illegally.

Naughty or Nice?

Young made it onto Judge Holbrook's -- and likely Santa's -- naughty list by accepting bribes. In return for payments from license applicants, she would falsify records showing that they presented the necessary documentation to verify their immigration status, reports The Columbus Dispatch.

Holbrook placed Young on probation for five years and ordered that she spend a minimum of three days in jail each Christmas while on probation. He also imposed a $3,000 fine.

If she violates probation, her Tiny Tim sentence will be swapped with a whopping 15 years in prison.

"Holbrook holiday" sentences are nothing new in Columbus. For nine years now, Judge Holbrook has made use of his unusual holiday sentencing structure at the Franklin County Common Pleas Court, he told ABC News. He asks convicted defendants for their favorite holidays -- their birthday, the Fourth of July -- and then sentences to them to spend that day in prison.

It's unorthodox (and mean), but legal (and brilliant). Generally, judges get wide discretion in sentencing. With the overcrowding of prisons, alternative sentences are often welcome by judges, state officials, prisoners and taxpayers alike.

Still, the Ohio judge makes sure not to be too mean about his alternative sentences. "I could make them go to jail on every holiday if I wanted to," he told ABC. "But I just make them go on their favorite day, like their birthday."

Holbrook got the idea from federal court judges who sentence individuals to jail on every federal holiday throughout the year.

He estimates that about 40 people have been on a "Holbrook holiday" stay-cation. Maybe the lady who wanted to go to jail to quit smoking has just found her next vacation spot?

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