Check fraud artist to serve three years in prison
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN ” Emily Wodiuk was in tears when District Court Judge James Boyd sentenced her to three years in prison.
Wodiuk, 24, was convicted in 2007 on two felony theft charges after writing a string of bad checks, and on Monday Judge Boyd resentenced her to prison after repeated probation violations.
Wodiuk also faces similar probation violations and sanctions from check fraud charges in Arapahoe County.
“I completely, fully accept responsibility for my two probation violations,” Wodiuk told Judge Boyd, adding that she wanted help for her troubles.
“I know that I need mental health treatment on top of substance abuse treatment,” she said.
She then broke down crying.
“She has exhausted probation,” said Deputy District Attorney Gail Nichols.
Wodiuk had failed multiple attempts at court supervision and probation, Nichols said.
And because Wodiuk failed to qualify for community corrections (a Department of Corrections alternative to prison) Nichols said there was no other choice: Wodiuk faces time.
Wodiuk’s attorney, Garth McCarty, argued that Wodiuk’s mental health and substance abuse problems are really the issue.
McCarty said Wodiuk used her real name and gave her real license number when writing fraudulent checks.
“A mentally healthy person going to commit those crimes would’ve done it differently,” McCarty said, adding that his client is “profoundly irrational.”
But Wodiuk has never been diagnosed or been given the help she needs, McCarty said.
McCarty conceded, however, that despite an earlier agreement to send Wodiuk to community corrections, her failure to qualify for the program left the court no choice.
McCarty asked for just two years in prison for his client.
In what Boyd called a difficult background of “a lot of victims and a lot of money” and repeated failures at probation and a past suspended sentence, Boyd sentenced Wodiuk to three years in prison.
A felony charge of attempted escape for running from police had been dropped to a misdemeanor, but was dropped for time served in the Pitkin County Jail.
One member of a crime spree couple alleged to have netted $27,000 in a fraudulent Aspen shopping spree avoided prison Monday.
Judge Boyd gave Leslie Christine Castle, 24, a three-year deferred sentence for her part in the January string of car break-ins in Basalt and a high-dollar credit card spree in Aspen alongside her fiance Jeremy Nichols, 34.
The couple allegedly used stolen credit cards to buy pricey furs from Mark Richards Fine Outerwear, jewelry from Caribou, a Prada tuxedo and Christian Dior sunglasses among other purchases.
Castle faced charges of complicity to commit credit card fraud for joining Nichols and for pretending that one card was hers. She was also found with an iPod from one of the vehicles.
Castle has no criminal history, and her attorney Arnie Mordkin claimed his client was “gullible” and simply turned the other way during the crimes.
Facing one to three years in prison and heavy fines, Castle earlier pleaded guilty to the charges in exchange for the three-year deferred sentence, probation and compliance with a female offender program.
She plans to stay in the Roaring Fork Valley and will also face an upcoming restitution hearing (Nichols said many of the stolen items had been recovered).
Nichols, her fiance, was released earlier on bond and is scheduled to appear in court again on May 19.
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RFTA has a bit of a paradox on its hands. The public bus agency doesn’t anticipate it will haul as many passengers this winter but it needs more buses and drivers than ever. Only 15 people are allowed per bus, so that saps resources.