A judge appeared to disagree with a proposed plea deal prosecutors reached with a woman accused of stealing half a million dollars from a dentist she worked for because it didn’t include jail time.

Pamela Anzelc, who owns a dental clinic in Portland, has accused Theresa York of stealing at least half a million dollars from her that was intended to pay federal taxes between 2016 and 2021.

Theresa York, 59, is accused of stealing from her former boss. Sofia Aldinio/Staff Photographer

York, 59, was scheduled to plead guilty Monday to one count of theft by unauthorized taking, a Class B crime. She would have been given a six-year suspended sentence and three years of probation under the terms of a plea agreement laid out in an email to Anzelc from a victim witness advocate. Prosecutors did not present the plea deal in court and have declined to comment about the case.

But more than an hour after the hearing was scheduled to start, Superior Court Justice Nancy Mills emerged from her chambers and said the hearing was being postponed following “significant discussion” with prosecutors and York’s attorney.

“I would not have approved no jail sentence in this case,” Mills said.

Anzelc and York already had reached an agreement in August 2021 under which York will repay Anzelc $475,000 in $2,000 monthly installments. But the agreement won’t cover the $83,000 Anzelc says she spent on legal fees and accounting, nor will it cover the $6,238 Anzelc is paying in interest on a loan she took out to repay the IRS.


Mills said Monday that an agreement should include $475,000 in restitution, “if not more.” It was not clear if that was on top of the $475,000 York already has agreed to pay.

Both York and Anzelc were at the Cumberland County courthouse Monday. Anzelc said afterward that she was pleased with what Mills said. She believes that jail time will “send a message” that this degree of theft is wrong.

York’s attorney, Luke Rioux, did not respond to questions Monday about the delayed hearing or his client’s reaction to the judge’s comments.

Mills scheduled a private meeting with York’s attorney and prosecutors for Nov. 15.

Anzelc had known York for more than 20 years when, while on vacation in April 2021, she learned that the IRS had frozen her bank accounts. They told her she owed more than $456,000 in unpaid federal taxes, Anzelc said in an interview this month.

Theresa York, left, visited Pamela Anzelc in Key West, Florida, in 2018 while both women were on vacation there. York is accused of stealing half a million dollars from Anzelc, her former friend and employer. Photo courtesy of Pamela Anzelc

For years, Anzelc said, York had been drafting checks for Anzelc to sign under the guise of paying the business’s taxes, only to deposit them into her own accounts. York also was forging financial records at the office, Anzelc said, and shredding notices from the IRS.

“She’d come in with a smile and pretend she was there as my right-hand person,” Anzelc said in an interview this month. “And all the time, she was robbing me blind.”

It turns out the IRS had been sending her certified notices for years, Anzelc said, and York was hiding and shredding them.

Anzelc said she had to take out a half-million-dollar loan to pay her taxes. The amount she owed grew in 2020 and 2021.

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