Casper Woman Sentenced to Prison in Check Fraud Case
A Casper woman was sentenced to prison Wednesday morning for writing several thousand dollars in checks on a closed bank account.
District Judge Daniel Forgey sentenced 35-year-old Karen Marie Johnson to 24-40 months at the Wyoming Women's Center. Johnson will also have to pay restitution in the amount of $6,800.
Charging documents say the property manager of the Conquistadors Apartments contacted police in early January 2017 after receiving two checks from Johnson totaling $6,800, which had been written on a closed bank account.
Johnson had written the checks in order to pay her boyfriend's rent in early December 2016.
The police affidavit contains text messages between Johnson and the property manager, dated Dec. 1-21, 2016. In the messages, Johnson repeatedly declares her intention to meet with the property manager in order to honor the checks, but evidently never did.
Assistant District Attorney Kevin Taheri said during Wednesday's sentencing hearing that Johnson was previously convicted for felony check fraud in 2009 and misdemeanor check fraud in 2017. Taheri said she also has other misdemeanors on her criminal record.
Public defender Joseph Cole requested a suspended prison sentence with three to five years of probation. He said Johnson is facing a surgery for liver problems and associated health issues.
Johnson, Cole told Forgey, would have a difficult time paying restitution, as she has an additional $6,800 in debts including court fines and back child support.
Forgey, in deciding upon the prison sentence, said he did not feel probation was appropriate for Johnson. He cited her previous failure on probation, a termination from the Casper Re-Entry Center and her recent failure to make an appointment to have an addiction severity index completed.
"If you can't make an ASI appointment, it doesn't really make me comfortable placing you on probation," Forgey told Johnson.