She did it for love and money, a former bank teller told a federal judge Monday before he sentenced her to seven years in prison for her role as the inside woman in a pair of Philadelphia-area bank robberies.

Yet when pressed to explain why she agreed to help armed men burst into her workplace and threaten her coworkers in 2013 for a man she had known less than a month, Calia Kane struggled to come up with an answer.

"I knew it was wrong," she told U.S. District Judge Legrome Davis at her sentencing hearing. "There's no amount of times I can apologize."

Kane, 22, of East Falls, pleaded guilty in 2014 to aiding Marquis Wilson and two accomplices in their scheme to rob the bank at which she worked - the Wells Fargo branch at 307 Levering Mill Rd. in Bala Cynwyd - and later a branch in Phoenixville.

She testified at Wilson's trial last month, explaining how she advised the robbers on the best ways to enter and exit the bank, and texted from her work station to let them know when the coast was clear. In their second robbery, she cased various branches and helped them pick their target.

Looking back, her lawyer, Patricia McKinney, told Davis, Kane couldn't recognize herself in the decisions she made.

Raised by a supportive family and working at the bank after graduating near the top of her high school class, Kane, then 19, decided to enroll in community college. On the same day, she was approached on the campus by Wilson, a Bible-quoting smooth talker, who asked her to pray with him.

The next day, Wilson asked Kane if he could rob her bank. She thought he was joking, she told the judge Monday. But the question kept coming.

Within a month, Kane said, she had fallen for Wilson and begun to feel sorry for him after learning that he was living out of his car. He told her that robbing the bank was the only way to better his situation, she said.

"I think Calia romanticized the notion of it," her mother testified Monday. "I don't think she thought it was real until it actually happened."

Kane, through tears, explained it this way: "I took his promise that no one would get hurt more literally - as in physically hurt. I never thought once about the fear from someone putting a gun in your face and not knowing what could happen."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Salvatore Astolfi conceded that Wilson could be manipulative and that it was unlikely that Kane ever would have committed a crime on her own were it not for her dalliance with Wilson.

Still, Astolfi said, her role in the robberies could not be ignored.

During the planning stages, she vetoed the robbers' idea of disguising themselves as hijab-wearing women, pointing out that such attire, although not uncommon in Philadelphia, was likely to draw attention on the Main Line.

She also suggested that the best time for the robbery would be a Monday morning, when the bank still had cash on hand from weekend deposits.

In all, the twin scores netted $151,529 from the two banks and endangered workers at both branches, Astolfi said. Wilson and his other two accomplices are expected to be sentenced in the next three months.

"They manipulated her," Astolfi said. "But she allowed herself to be manipulated."

Davis agreed, addressing Kane shortly before imposing her sentence.

"This isn't a little thing that you've done," he said. "This was huge, and to say 'I'm sorry' can't take away what you did."

jroebuck@phillynews.com

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