I went to hear at least part of the Karen Shepard case this morning. Karen Shepard background. Apparently before I got there, Ramona Peters testified as a witness, don't know if there were others. Karen Shepard was on the stand when I came in, being asked questions by her defense counsel. Below is a rough transcript of what I heard.
Restitution amount $84,100. DC (defense counsel) was talking about IF there were probation terms. She could pay back 700 a month, has commercial property that can be sold, her husband makes 50k per year (works for county). Shepard said she didn't do this with malice. Sold the marital home and is currently living with her mother. Asking court for probation to replay loan and sell commercial property. Lessee currently there, has 30 days if wants to buy it.
Hanna. You knew this day was coming, what did you do to get the property listed and sold
Hanna; you offered it to the people leasing it, that's a phone call. YOu didn't decide to sell till recently.
Shepard: I was willing to take retirement a year ago and settle. Money moved from First Financial to Edward Jones. Since then the money was used to pay back First Financial Bank. Had a first and second lien on $90,000 combined loan at FF. Sold house equity around 73k. Trying to get debt free from loans and notes. Traded travel trailers-no money required. Old one collat for FF. Bank of ?? new one. Husband didn't know of this at first until it came to light. Where did the money go? Paying loans to FF, small bills, credit cards. Joint account with daughter.
Hanna Other items? Daughter's wedding?
Shepard: Everything I had was financed at FF. "Couldn't tell you honestly it's not like I went out on a shopping spree"
Discussion about how much the commercial property worth and whether a realtor would give you an accurate estimate versus an opinion. DC objected. Mr Love's line of credit, had to sign a document to withdraw money.
Hanna Did you sign his name?
Shepard: I didn't sign his name as a signature, wrote his name as debit. Did not have to forge his name.
Hanna What about Mrs. Peters? (Same) How long did mother and sister know? Within the last year is there a good reason why you didn't list and sell the commercial property for the proceeds?
Shepard: I didn't know the process. Travel Trailer - lien, motorcycle, 2 vehicles.
Hanna 34 separate withdrawals for Mrs Peter's account.
Shepard: I didn't realize at the time it had gotten to that point. Wasn't stealing it, I always put it back
Hanna You have stolen it, and you pled guilty .. and you have no way to pay it back. 2 thefts. Attempts to cover it up by falsifying bank records that you shoed to Mrs. Peters.
Shepard I never meant to hurt her.
Hanna Fabricating physical documents and showing them to Mrs. Peters, trusted friend of 25 years. Betrayed trust of 2 of your closest friends, lied to cover up what you had done and over a year have done very little to liquidate assets to pay it back. 73000 didn't pay any of that back to Mr. Lolve
Shepard: I don't mean to leave him hanging
Hanna You and your husband have an RV, and you're living with your mother.
Shepard I hope after husband retires we can take it SC to visit the children.
Hanna Luxuries in life. $135 a month -RV. (Asked why not asking kin)
Shepard: I don't want to put the burden on anyone else. My responsibility to pay, not others. Mother has a house on 1 acre with 47 acres owned by mother, leased by brother. Not my property, its hers (mother)
Hanna: Mother is going to pass away at some point, you're going to have them, but have not given to them to liquidate.
DC I guess you could just throw your mother out on the street. You have way too much debt. FF got all your money
Shepard: Somebody offered to loan money until property settled but backed out.
DC: In next 10 years maybe some money left over so you could pay Mr Love What kind of payment? Probation. How much could you pay that would be comfortable? $700 a little uncomfortable (monthly) Also probation fee and court costs. Sell commercial property. Somewhere down the line sell another property
Hanna Why would you not ask your brother to swap house with 40 acres land.
Shepard: He'd have to lease another place for his cows. He lives next door to the land
$97,415.00 commercial land estimate
Hanna Did you know Mrs Peters was having health issues when you took her money?
Shepard: She had health issues before
Hanna Theft of the elderly. You agree she was not in the best of health. She wasn't keeping up with her finances
Shepard: I can't answer keeping up with finances
Hannah Mrs Peters testified that she wasn't keeping up with her finances as she should have. Why would you take money from Peters and Love?
Shepard: I felt they were friends and she would understand. Mr Love- misunderstanding between he and I.
Hanna You have violated every banking law in the world. You know that was wrong.
Shepard: Yes, sir
Hanna Each of 34 times you had to sign a document. Did you carefully consider each of those 34 times what you were doing when you illegally took money from the account?
Shepard I don't understand your question.
Both attorneys standing up, objection, overruled DC.
Hanna Had to do some action, did you consider you were committing a crime?
Shepard: I didn't think of it as a crime.
Hanna You falsified a document to show Mrs. Peters
Shepard: I just panicked.
Hanna you knew that day it was wrong
Shepard: no, not like that. I thought she knew the money was coming from her account. Hadn't happened in 3-4 weeks
Hanna You went 3-4 weeks between each. You didn't go to them and say, this is what I have done.
Judge recaps for his understanding. 84,100. Went to bank to pay off notes, 70k bank, 82,000 returned bank. How many notes did you have
Shepard: I can't put a number on it.
Travel Trailer- collaterol, mom's pickup truck, husband's pickup, ATV
Judge: 82,000 almost out of restitution, instead paid off bank notes. The bank would have taken your ATV etc and none of which would have put you in jail. You had 82000 in an account that was not in the bank, no loan but instead of paying money, you paid off notes. What would prevent mom from getting a loan and you pay back mother rather than paying restitituion in monthly payments? Not suggesting mom pay loan, you pay back. Possibility of 20 years in JDC. Not saying you kick your mom out or your mom pays the loan.
Hanna Did some of this money go to keep your commercial property from being foreclosed?
DC: In hindsight, you think you should have been exploring other options, instead of putting all your eggs into one basket (commercial property)
Shepard: Person who offered to loan the money.
DC Option now to go to mother or brother to sell the land?
All the attorneys go to the room in the back
DC You've never been in any kind of trouble at all over 25 years of employment, not typical, this is an anomalie.
Hanna Recommend split sentence, jail sentence and probation. Shock probation bring her back after 75 days. Criminal acs, little explanation or remorse, basically embezzling money and using lifelong friends to do it.
Judge: Pre-sentencing probation PSI. Back Nov 9th for judgement of this court. You have had a very hard time admitting what you have done, and hvae done very little to make the wrong right. Bank $84,100 Love $25,000 Just takes the blink of an eye to lose a good reputation for the rest of your life.