Man gets one year probation for bogus bills
A Grand County Court judge handed down the same probationary sentence to a couple who was connected to fake money used at the Granby Kum and Go.
Grand County Court Judge Nicholas Catazanarite sentenced Benjamin Drake on Nov. 2 to one year of unsupervised probation and 24 hours of community service. Catanzarite sentenced the woman arrested with Drake, 32-year-old Kaitlin Duy to the same thing on Oct. 21.
Like Duy, Drake faces five days in jail if he doesn’t complete the terms of his sentence.
Police arrested Drake and Duy in May after surveillance footage from Kum and Go showed them making around $73 worth of purchases with phony bills. Officers found $750 more in fake money in Duy’s car.
Drake pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft and forgery under a plea deal that stipulated a probationary sentence.
In court, Drake’s attorney said Drake had no knowledge of the bills being fake and deserved at least an equal sentence as Duy, if not less.
Kathryn Dowdell, chief deputy district attorney for the 14th Judicial District, didn’t agree with Drake’s attorney and argued in court for jail time, citing Drake’s criminal history.
“I think the defendant knew exactly what was going on and was benefitting from the use of those fake $50 bills,” Dowdell said. “When you’re walking around with fake cash and stealing from the community, it deserves more punishment.”
Drake told the court that he no longer had contact with Duy and was going back to school and working full time. Additionally, he said he’s been sober for a year.
“I’ve taken a lot of steps to right my past,” he said. “I’m taking steps to build a successful life.”
Ultimately, Catanzarite said that aligning Drake’s and Duy’s sentences made the most sense to him.
“I don’t think a jail sentence is appropriate under these circumstances, you’re being supervised out of another county, you’ve got a lot of good things going, but … I will impose a suspended jail sentence,” Catanzarite said.
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The Grand County Sheriff’s Office fielded 189 calls from Nov. 21-27 while dispatchers answered 509 calls for all first-responder agencies in the county.