By Tony Hanson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A federal judge today sentenced a prolific repeat offender to nearly 3½ years in prison for writing bad checks.

Federal authorities took over this case after repeated state convictions and sentences failed to stop her.

Prosecutor Louis Lappen says 44-year-old defendant Yolanda Garbrick has 18 prior convictions — all various crimes of dishonesty — and in this case she wrote 244 bad checks for a total of about $36,000, many of them while she was in a halfway house following a previous conviction.

Judge Lagrome Davis told Garbrick her conduct is unlike anything he’s ever seen.

“It’s outrageous to write this number of checks while you are in a halfway house, under state court supervision,” he told her.  “Do you have any idea where that is?  That is 11 on a scale of ten.  Really!”

The defense had sought a noncustodial sentence because she suffers multiple serious health conditions.

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