A woman who pretended to be a nurse and even staged her own "Nurse of the Year" party in 2008 was sent to jail Tuesday after pleading guilty to criminal impersonation, practicing nursing without a license and second-degree forgery
As judicial marshals put handcuffs over her wrists to begin her nine-month sentence, Betty Lichtenstein, 57, mouthed the words "I love you" to her shaken daughter, Monica, sitting in the front row of a Norwalk courtroom.
A few minutes before State Superior Court Judge Bruce Hudock pronounced the sentence, Lichtenstein, who had no real training as a nurse but dispensed medical advice and administered shots
to patients as if she had a license, apologized for what she had done.
"I know that what I did was very, very wrong. I am so sorry for what I did and I am so sorry if I endangered anyone" she told Hudock.
She went on to say that there is no chance that she would do anything like that again and she said that she took responsibility for what she had done.
Taking a plea agreement where she agreed to serve up to a year in jail, Lichtenstein this past summer pleaded guilty to the reduced charges.
During the sentencing hearing, her attorney, Lindy Urso, acknowledged the case held a "bizarre" set of facts, many of which cannot be explained. But he said Lichtenstein thought Weiss was complicit in the charade, especially because he was the keynote speaker at the phony awards dinner.
He also told Hudock that Lichtenstein was in very bad health and any sentence could be a "death sentence" for her. He said Lichtenstein had a pacemaker, a deteriorating heart muscle, congestive heart disease and diabetes.
Because of that, Urso said a three-year probation sentence with no jail time would ensure she does not endanger the public while allowing her to keep what little remains of the rest of her life.
Supervisory Assistant State's Attorney Christopher Godialis, who was prosecuting the case, said Lichtenstein should be made to serve the full year in jail.
Hudock said he did not think any sentence would be a death sentence for Lichtenstein and his first obligation was community safety. He said those who go to nurses and doctors expect to get the best treatment possible from those who are qualified.
"By putting yourself up as something you were not and were never, you endangered the community," Hudock said.
He then gave her a five-year sentence, suspended after nine months served and followed by three years probation
As a condition of her release after she serves the sentence, Hudock said Lichtenstein could have no contact with Weiss, his employees or his patients.
He also forbade her from seeking employment in any area related to the medical field and said she was to inform in writing any potential employer of her convictions, Hudock said.