An aide who stole from M. Night Shyamalan could be sent to prison for seven years for a third-degree felony in a $15,000 credit card case.
Selma Nolan Cody pleaded guilty before Common Plea Judge Phyllis Streitel to a single count of theft from Shyamalan, according to the Philadelphia Magazine. The third-degree felony carries a maximum penalty of seven years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 4.
Family and friends don’t know why Cody stole from Shyamalan, the director of the “The Sixth Sense” film, but they say he’s very remorseful. He was a former house manager for Shyamalan. Police say the 34-year-old was accused of making 195 personal purchases from Amazon, Netflix and other outlets on the card.
The film director and his wife, who works as a psychologist, gave him the credit card to be used for house-related items. Unfortunately, he started billing other items that had nothing to do with the rural Chester County home in suburban Philadelphia. She was hired in 2012, but left last year.
The aide stole from Shyamalan on numerous occasions. Cody admitted ringing up more than $15,000 in improper, unauthorized charges on a credit card in 2012 and 2013. According to an affidavit prepared by Willistown Detective Stephen Jones, the police department was contacted in August by Lisa Liberati, vice president of operations for Blinding Edge, and said that several charges to a credit card issued to Cody had been made but not authorized by the Shyamalans.
The value of the charges ranged from $8171 from Amazon to $412 from Netflix. Liberati told the detective that Bhavna Shyamalan had received the purchases and confirmed that the merchandise and services had not been OK’d by either her or her husband, according to San Francisco Gate. She noted that the bulk of the purchases — 174 of the total — had come after Cody was no longer employed by the Shyamalan family.
Jones stated in his criminal complaint that records from the online services showed that the e-mail address used in the purchases belonged to the aide who stole from Shyamalan, and the merchandise had all been delivered to her address in the town of Reading.
Cody appeared in court on Monday with her attorney, John Rutkowsky of Lancaster, to enter her guilty plea. Streitel accepted it, and ordered that a pre-sentencing investigation be conducted before she sentences the former aide, likely sometime next year.
While the aide who stole from Shyamalan had to appear in court, the victim was not present at the plea proceeding, said Assistant District Attorney Christopher deBarrena-Sarobe, who handled the plea for the DA’s office. He anticipated they would submit a statement to Streitel that would be read when she is sentenced, notes NBC. DeBarrena-Sarobe said he did not know what movies the aide had rented from Netflix, or whether they included any of her former employer’s films.