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Two sentenced in federal court

ALBANY — Two Albany residents will serve lengthy prison sentences for federal crimes, court officials say.

According to a release from the office of Michele J. Moore, U.S. Attorney, Melody Milton, 38, was sentenced Thursday to 70 months imprisonment and ordered to pay $110,431 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.

Formerly a home health care nurse employed by Phoebe Putney Home Health Care, Milton admitted in her guilty plea last year that she opened bank accounts in the name of “Quick Cash Check Cashing” at two Albany area banks for the purpose of facilitating an illegal scheme, the release stated. According to officials, Milton fraudulently obtained Internal Revenue Service refund checks at a post office box she opened in order to receive the checks directly.

The checks were in the names of other persons without their knowledge, or consent and many of the persons were her own patients while she was employed at the health care facility, the statement read. Milton is accused of negotiating the checks for her own use by depositing the third party checks into the accounts which she controlled. Total value of all the Treasury checks is $282,428, according to the statement.

According to Moore, the case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jim Crane.

Also on Thursday, Eric Colbert, 38, of Albany was sentenced to 257 months in federal prison for armed bank robbery.

As a part of his earlier plea of guilty, Colbert admitted that on the morning of November 18, 2011, he entered First State Bank in Albany, held up a gun, fired a shot into the ceiling and shouted “This is a robbery,” court officials say. According to a release from Moore’s office, Colbert fired an additional shot at an Albany Police Department officer, then fled on foot, pursued by the officer. Colbert was apprehended short thereafter, officials say, with no money stolen and no one hurt.

According to Moore’s office, the case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Albany Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Peter Leary prosecuted the case for the Government.

In both cases, sentencing was by Louis Sands, United States District Judge in Albany.