A woman convicted of posing as a Summit County veterinarian was released from prison Wednesday following a court hearing.
Brandi A. Tomko, 37, was eligible for judicial release after serving about half of the 18-month sentence she received in March from Common Pleas Judge Paul Gallagher.
Under terms of Tomko’s early release, Gallagher placed her on probation for two years, ordered a substance-abuse assessment and also issued a no-contact order with the victims in the case.
In a bench trial in February, Tomko was convicted of two low-level felonies and six misdemeanors for passing herself off as a veterinarian at the former C&D Animal Hospital on Brittain Road in Akron from March to June in 2011.
Trial testimony showed she was not a licensed veterinarian nor a licensed vet tech and was prohibited under Ohio law from performing any vet services without a license in those fields.
Her felony convictions were for forging the signature of the clinic’s supervising veterinarian on an invoice, animal medications and pet supply orders.
Gallagher, however, dismissed the most serious charge of causing the death of a service dog belonging to a disabled Gulf War veteran, Robert McGee of Akron. The judge ruled there was insufficient evidence to prove Tomko caused the dog’s death some 10 months after McGee’s first visit to the clinic.
Three of the misdemeanor offenses — theft of money paid for services, animal cruelty and practicing without a license — involved a 12-year-old dog owned by Kenny Reymann of Akron.
That dog, named Charlie, died of kidney failure in April 2011, only days after Tomko had treated the animal.
“Judge Gallagher showed Brandi Tomko that the system is tired of playing games with her. I’m sure that nine months in prison was no fun at all, but the fact that Miss Tomko now takes full responsibility for what she did, but is not willing to serve her full sentence, speaks volumes,” Reymann said after Wednesday’s hearing.
Tomko’s attorney, John Greven, said he was satisfied with the outcome. She had an exemplary prison record, he said, and gave birth to a child while serving her term.
The child’s father is in charge of care, Greven said.
“I think the judge felt that Brandi definitely learned a lesson from this. I don’t think it did anyone any good to keep her in prison,” he said.
In a companion case, Tomko also pleaded guilty to one count of drug possession and one count of possession of drug instruments. Greven said she already had served her time on those offenses under a concurrent sentencing order.
Ed Meyer can be reached at 330-996-3784 or at email@example.com.