Jennifer Smith, the former executive director of the North Platte Housing Authority, was sentenced to three years probation Monday under a plea agreement in a case in which she initially was charged with theft and racketeering.
Included in the sentence handed down in Lincoln County District Court, the 44-year-old’s will also have to serve 24 days in jail, broken up by a term of two days of incarceration every 90 days she is under probation. Smith also presented the court with a $20,000 check for restitution to an individual who was affected in the case.
Smith pleaded no contest to an amended felony count of theft by deception in the amount of at least $1,500 but less than $5,000.
Smith initially faced charges of theft by deception, unauthorized use of a financial transaction device, aiding the consummation of a felony and two counts of a pattern of racketeering after she was arrested in March 2018.
According to court documents, between February 2017 and February 2018, Smith allegedly obtained a man’s property by deception, and proceeds that were, “derived, directly or indirectly, from racketeering or from collection of unlawful debt.”
Smith’s lawyer, David J. Tarrell, told Judge Michael Piccolo that while Smith was the perpetrator in the case, she had also been the victim of what he called a Jamaican money scam.
Tarrell said Smith became an unwitting participant who moved money for the scam artists. He added that Smith did not profit from the act.
Smith remained silent throughout Monday’s hearing. When Piccolo asked her if she had anything to say before the sentence was handed down, she responded with, “I guess not.”
In other court proceedings Monday (parties are all from North Platte unless noted):
» Renee E. Morrell, 22, was sentenced to between two to four years in federal prison by Piccolo for possession of a stolen firearm from an incident on May 27, 2019.
Morrell, who pleaded no contest to the charge on Nov. 18, was credited for 222 days served.
Piccolo pointed to an extensive criminal history as well as her five prior unsuccessful attempts at probation as factors in his decision.
» Jordan E. Collins, 23, pleaded no contest to a felony count of third-degree arson with damages of at least $1,500.
A count of using an explosive to commit a felony was dismissed in the plea agreement for the incident on June 22, 2019.’
Collins is one of the parties charged in connection to an explosion in an alley in downtown North Platte which damaged Brown’s Shoe Fit.
Collins was sentenced to 90 days in jail and credited for time served. He is scheduled to report on March 2.
County Attorney Rebecca Harling told Piccolo that the incident seemed to be, “a stupid prank that just got way out of hand.”
» Anthony D. Fleecs, 22, changed his plea from not guilty to no contest on a charge of making a terroristic threat in a Sept. 8, 2019, incident.
A count of using a firearm to commit a felony was dismissed in the plea agreement.
Fleecs was sentenced to 270 days in jail by Piccolo with time served. He also received nine-months of post-release supervision upon completion of his jail term.
» Ryan E. Walsh, 37, pleaded no contest to an amended charge of attempted possession of methamphetamine on March 26, 2019.
Two additional counts of possession of a controlled substance were dismissed in the plea agreement.
Walsh was sentenced to 12 months probation.
» Ashley A. Hensley, 30, admitted to violation of her 18-month parole in September 2019. The parole, which began in August, which initially came from a count of a violation of a custody order. Hensley was sentenced to two years of probation.
» Yvette E. Williams, 26, pleaded no contest to a felony count of possession of methamphetamine on July 6, 2019. A possession count in another case was dismissed under the plea agreement. Williams is expected to enter drug court and will remain in jail until a bed opens for her to be accepted into a treatment program.
» Edward L. Blaylock, 27, pleaded guilty to a count of domestic assault which caused an injury and also a charge of negligent child abuse with no injury.
Two other charges were dismissed in the plea agreement from the incident on Oct. 31, 2019.
He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 9.
» Nicholas M. MacMillan, 39, pleaded no contest to a felony count of possession of methamphetamine from a May 5, 2018, incident, and also admitted to a violation of his probation in three other cases.
A count of failing to report a change of address under the sex offender registration act in a sixth case, was dismissed in the plea agreement.
He is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 24.
» Jill M. Zeiler, 42, pleaded no contest to an amended charge of attempted possession of methamphetamine from an incident on Feb. 25, 2019. Zeiler is scheduled to be sentenced March 23, following a pre-sentence investigation and a substance-use evaluation.
» Wesley J. Stickelman, 49, pleaded guilty to a felony count of possession of methamphetamine in a Sept. 28, 2019, incident. He also pleaded no contest to a felony charge of possession of a dangerous weapon by a prohibited person. A felony count of possession of a deadly weapon by a protected person was dismissed in the plea agreement. He is scheduled to be sentenced March 9.