Solomon Schweitzer, who pleaded guilty last summer to embezzling more than $185,000 from a security service now owned by Peoples Drug Stores Inc., was given a suspended jail term and fined $1,000 yesterday by a D.C. Superior Court judge.
At the time he entered his guilty plea, the government alledged it could prove that Schweitzer, 55, had stolen about $523,000 from Seaboard Service System Ltd. over a four-year period beginning in 1973 through a payroll-the firm and was its president until a year ago.
Judge William E. Stewart Jr. described Schweitzer yesterday as "a man disgraced, embarrassed (and) humiliated" who had already "endured a certain amount of punishment" and will continue to do so.
Stewart suspended the one-to-three-year prison term he set for Schweitzer after the judge noted that Schweitzer suffers from a serious heart ailment and that a doctor had said that the strain of imprisonment could have "fatal consequences.''
I am ashamed, I am sorry for what has happened," Schweitzer told Stewart, "not simply for myself but for my wife and children . . ."
"I tried to make amends for what has happened to the best of my ability," said Schweitzer, who cried as he spoke to the judge.
"I'm sorry," he said.
Assistant U. S. Attorney Eric B. Marcy had asked Judge Stewart to sentence Schweitzer to a prison term.
"The defendant . . . has probably been responsible for arresting thousands of individuals. I venture to say hundreds of them seen periods of incarceration and yet this defendant seeks probation," Marcy said of Schweitzer and his work as president of a private security firm.
If Schweitzer was not imprisoned, Marcy said, the court would have to answer "as to how a person can commit a crime of this enormity and not be subject to a period of incarceration."
Schweitzer's attorney, Seymour Glanzer, described his client as "a financially ruined man, broken in health and spirit" whose life "is in shambles."
He described Schweitzer as "gravely ill" and living in "self-created hell" of shame and remorse over what he had done.
According to the government's case, Schweitzer, who now lives in California, used some of the embezzled funds to pay for his son's law school tuition, and to buy a Roll-Royce and two luxury condominium apartments. He also used some of the stolen money to buy about 45,000 shares of stock in People, which acquired Seaboard in the early 1970s, the government said.
Seaboard provides security services and special police for various commercial and industrial businesses, including Peoples.
Schweitzer, who had charge of the company payroll, embezzled the funds by endorsing checks for nonexistent employees and by having two checks drawn for some employees, one of which Schweitzer would deposit in his own bank account, the government contended.
As a result of lawsuits brought by Peoples to recover the embezzled funds, Schweitzer transferred his Peoples stock back to the company. In addition to the $1,000 fine imposed yesterday, Stewart placed Schweitzer on two years probation.