In a surprising decision, convicted attorney Mary S. Roberts received no jail time for her convictions of theft in a sordid sex/blackmail scheme with her husband, lawyer Ted H. Roberts. She received 10 years probation despite the fact that her husband received five years and she faced a maximum of 20 years in prison. The sentence seems rather inconsistent with her husband and a bit light given the multiple count conviction in this case.
Since the jury found that Mary was a knowing and willing participant in this blackmail scheme it is curious that the sentencing would be so different for the two actors and that she would receive no jail time for such a premeditated crime. Generally, courts are more stringent in sentencing with lawyers who violate the law.
It did not take long for a jury in Texas to convict the San Antonio lawyer on felony charges that she helped her husband blackmail four of her former lovers. Her husband, Ted H. Roberts was previously convicted in the scheme that netted $155,000 from four married men who had affairs with his wife.
Even during the trial, Mary continued to argue that the scheme was entirely legal, referring to the letters demanding money as “202 petitions” to raise money for their charity to help kids. However, the prosecutors played Ted’s statement: “When I confront them, they’d better bring their checkbook, because they’re going to be writing a check to my favorite charity: Me.”
Mary now faces a sentence ranging from two years of probation on the low end to 20 years in prison on the high end. Since her husband received only five years, she is expected as a first-offender to receive much less than the maximum.
As discussed in earlier entries, the Roberts are accused of a bizarre variation of pay-to-play scheme with her lovers being help up for thousands of dollars after being confronted by Ted Roberts. Remarkably, Mary Roberts insisted that it was legal to send “202 letter,” as she called them, to four former lovers — demanding donations to “charity.” Witnesses previously testified that Ted called his “favorite charity — me.” Mary Roberts admitted that they use much of the money to support the law firm which was under financial distress. Mary Roberts insisted that she put an ad on an adult website only after finding evidence of her own husband possible affairs. She insisted that she wanted to catch him.
It read in part: “Professional woman who is full of desire, but not having her needs met — I am extremely discreet and require the same. I am also very receptive to the right man for an erotic and intellectual relationship.”
Of course, she ultimately slept with four men and admitted to having an affair with Geoffrey Ferguson during her first marriage and then while married to Ted Roberts in 2001. When pressed on the obvious disconnect in her account and why she would do such a thing, Mary Roberts cited Rupert Holmes’ “Escape (The Pina Colada Song).” — to explain what prompted her to place an ad on an adult Web site. ”It’s like, what’s that song? ‘If you like pina coladas, and getting caught in the rain. Like that.” Until that moment, I was agnostic about Mary Roberts going to jail, but anyone who not only listens to Holmes’ song but cites it in a court of law is a danger to society.
In all, Mary and Ted Roberts were able to squeeze the four lovers (none of whom were told of the others) for $155,000. Mary delivered at least one of the letters and Ted used letters to threaten and mock the men.
Notably, Mary stated that her husband had ”a bit of Napoleon complex” and blamed him for virtually everything. She did the sleeping but he did the scheming under her account.”I did not want Ted to pursue the 202 petitions or pursue anything,” she said. “The problem was in the marriage. … I asked him to chill out, if you will. He was unwilling to do that.”
While tearful on the stand, it was hard to imagine a jury buying this type of testimony. Unfortunately, the two Roberts have fulfilled every stereotype of lawyers for some in the public. The fact is that these are two truly obnoxious — if not toxic — individuals who deserve lengthly punishment — and long walks in the rain in the prison yard — to consider their choices as both lawyers and human beings.
For the bar, the convictions of these two lawyers was a welcomed event.
Now, however, Roberts will not go to jail and instead perform community service. It is hard to imagine what community service would work for her but legal and marriage counseling should probably be excluded.