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Police: PA woman lied about military service to get a break on her DUIs

A gavel cracks down. (Airman 1st Class Aspen Reid/U.S. Air Force)

A Wilkes-Barre woman surrendered Wednesday at the Lackawanna County Courthouse after officials said she lied about serving in the military in the hopes of catching a break on her sentence for driving under the influence twice.

Sarah Gomez, 37, 178 S. Sherman St., lied during a pre-sentencing investigation about serving in Afghanistan and Kuwait to mitigate her exposure when she went before President Judge Michael J. Barrasse on June 6, according to a criminal complaint.

During the sentencing hearing with the judge, she lied again, Detective Lisa Bauer, of the Lackawanna County district attorney’s office, charged.

“Ms. Gomez, you served in the United States?” Barrasse asked her, according to a transcript.

“Yes, sir,” she replied. “I mean, your honor.”

Gomez is charged with misrepresentation of military service or honors and obstructing the administration of law or other governmental functions.

For two DUI cases in which she entered guilty pleas, she was sentenced by Barrasse to six months on the intermediate punishment program, with the first 60 days spent on house arrest, and six months of probation. She was told to report to veteran’s court — a supervised program that requires participants seek treatment for mental health and substance abuse disorders.

Barrasse directed Gomez to veteran’s court because she told the county adult probation/parole office she served in the U.S. Army between 2009 and 2013 and had been deployed overseas.

However, no record of her service exists, Bauer charged.

When challenged, Gomez changed her story from serving in the Army as an enlisted soldier to serving as a contracted worker with the Tobyhanna Army Depot.

The depot’s human resources department, however, told investigators that she had never worked there.

Barrasse vacated her sentence in the days following her hearing. She will be resentenced, District Attorney Mark Powell said.

Gomez is free on $5,000 bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled 10:45 a.m. Wednesday.


© 2020 The Times-Tribune