Man sentenced on bad check charge

A 33-year-old South Lake Tahoe man serving a sentence in San Quentin Prison was ordered Monday to serve four years in Nevada State Prison for writing checks on the account of an 83-year-old man.

David Kennedy was ordered to pay $1,175 restitution. He pleaded guilty to uttering a forged instrument, a felony.

District Judge Michael Gibbons ordered the sentence to be served concurrent to Kennedy's California sentence.

He will be returned to Nevada State Prison at the conclusion of his California term.

"He has a criminal history he's not proud of," said lawyer Tod Young who represented Kennedy.

"Mr. Kennedy was out of control and acting out of desperation. He owed money and was fearful," Young said.

"Since you are already serving a prison sentence, that's the only reason you're not getting a longer sentence," Gibbons said. "I find it hard to believe you've never been offered treatment."

Gibbons said if Kennedy did not stop using drugs, he was going to be in and out of prison the rest of his life.

n A former supervisor in a real estate firm who admitted writing checks worth $5,000 on the account of an ex-colleague was sentenced Tuesday to probation and ordered to spend two weekends in Douglas County Jail.

Julia Hill, 57, of Minden, apologized to the victim.

"I admit now that I am a compulsive gambler. Before, I was kidding myself," Hill said. "I understand what my actions did to other people. I just want to get better."

Hill was sentenced to one year in Douglas County Jail and ordered to pay $4,406.65 restitution at the rate of $225 a month.

She brought $1,500 to court toward the restitution.

District Judge Dave Gamble suspended the jail sentence and placed Hill on two years probation.

"One of the most difficult things for a person who has had a successful career is to find out you really are in the criminal justice system, that there really is a jail," Gamble said. "I imposed the jail time to help you successfully complete your probation."

Hill must undergo a mental health evaluation, attend 12-step meetings at least three times a week and notify employers of her conviction.

She is forbidden to consume alcohol or enter a gambling establishment during her probation. She is subject to random search and seizure for indications of embezzlement or gambling.

n A former California resident who admitted taking more than $6,000 from a Texas man she met at a Stateline casino was ordered Tuesday to make restitution at $225 a month.

Deborah Cutajar, 38, admitted taking cash and chips from the Austin, Texas, man she had met the night before.

According to court reports, the victim allowed Cutajar to stay in his room. He left early the next morning to go hunting and when he returned, the money was missing from his hotel room safe.

She pleaded guilty to felony attempted grand larceny.

District Judge Dave Gamble sentenced Cutajar to 28 months in Nevada State Prison, suspended, and placed her on three years probation.

She is forbidden to enter a gambling establishment and must undergo counseling and attend at least three 12-step meetings a week.

"This is very embarrassing," Cutajar said. "I feel bad for what I did to (the victim) and for making up a story that could have hurt one of the employers. I wish it had never happened."

Cutajar said she has moved to Ohio to live with her sister.

n A 23-year-old Gardnerville man faces up to six years in Nevada State Prison at his March 27 sentencing for trafficking in a controlled substance.

Wesley Zade Bohannon may be released from Douglas County Jail for an in-patient substance abuse treatment program prior to his sentencing.

His lawyer, Tod Young, said Bohannon wanted to undergo treatment prior to his imprisonment.

District Judge Michael Gibbons warned Bohannon to take the treatment seriously.

Bohannon faces up to six years in prison and up to a $50,000 fine.

Bohannon was arrested Jan. 25 in a pre-dawn raid on his apartment in the 1400 block of Mission Street.

Juan Simental Garcia, 38, was arrested the same day in a raid on his residence in the 1500 block of Church Street.

He also is charged with trafficking and is to appear in East Fork Justice Court today.

The men were arrested following a three-week investigation into their alleged methamphetamine distribution activities. According to the sheriff's office, approximately 3 ounces of methamphetamine was purchased from the suspects.

n Sandra Vasquez pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges that she embezzled $171,000 from a mentally disabled man who died of a brain tumor.

District Judge Dave Gamble set a June 12 trial date.

Vasquez pleaded not guilty to embezzlement and grand theft.

Vasquez, 44, has been in Douglas County Jail on $25,000 bail since her arrest Dec. 20.

Gamble reduced her bail to $5,000 bondable over the objection of prosecutor Mark Jackson who said Vasquez was a flight risk and that $120,000 of the victim's money is unaccounted for.

Jackson said Vasquez had a half-dozen aliases. Her lawyer, Mitchell Wright of Reno, said his client had been married several times and those names were reflected in her aliases.

He also discounted Jackson's argument that Vasquez has been charged with smuggling illegal aliens. Wright said Vasquez was stopped in California with two 4-year-old nephews for whom she could not produce birth certificates.

The victim, 63-year-old William J. Reifer, died in Aug. 12, 2004. He had been diagnosed at age 12 as a paranoid schizophrenic. His father set up a $2 million trust fund in 1993 to provide financial security for his son.

Vasquez, whom Reifer reportedly appointed as trustee, is accused of spending $171,679 in less than four months. She continued spending money after Reifer's death and after District Judge Michael Gibbons issued a court order sought by the family to stop her.

If Vasquez bails out of jail, she will be under the supervision of the department of alternative sentencing.

She may not leave Carson City, Douglas or Washoe counties without permission and is subject to random search and seizure for evidence of theft or fraud.


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