According to Mono County Assistant District Attorney Todd Graham the case against an accused embezzler, bookkeeper Susan L. Hicks, is still going forward.
Earlier this year, Hicks became the subject of an embezzlement investigation when a victim reported that a large sum of money was discovered missing from various personal and corporate accounts managed by Hicks.
She was arrested on May 2, and Graham said Hicks is currently charged with 149 counts of felony check forgery and one count of residential burglary. Her case is scheduled for a pretrial conference on Monday, Nov. 5, at 10 a.m. in Mono County Superior Court in Mammoth Lakes.
Information is still being gathered as to exactly how much money was involved, and Graham said the process has been time consuming and exacting, with detailed analysis at times performed on a check-by-check basis. Graham said it’s possible his office will file amended charges.
One company involved has reportedly opted not to participate in the case, but none of those pressing charges have withdrawn or dropped any charges.
Batterham gets probation
In another Mono County embezzlement case, Sara Batterham was sentenced this week following the results of a 90-day diagnostic evaluation at Chowchilla State Prison. Chowchilla State Prison officials recommended that Batterham be granted probation. The People, represented by Mono County Deputy District Attorney Jeremy Ibrahim, argued to the court that she be sentenced to 6 years 4 months in state prison, which Ibrahim said was her maximum exposure, based on prior convictions.
Batterham was convicted on Nov. 16, 2011, on three of five charges, including embezzlement, one of two forgery counts, and preparing and submitting false documents for trial.
Judge John T. Ball, who presided over the case last year, and also over certain follow up proceedings this year, sentenced her to 3 years formal probation, with credit for time served in custody, which amounts to approximately 11 months actual time in custody.
She was ordered to pay restitution to Surat Singh in the amount of $10,903.89, to not have any contact with Singh or Oklahoma attorney Christian Zeaman, to pay mandatory fines and fees, is subject to full search terms without probable cause, and to not own a firearm.
Batterham was arrested on Aug. 30, 2007, along with her husband, Colin Batterham, for diverting almost $11,000 in transactions from Surat Singh, owner-operator of the Mammoth Econo Lodge, creating a fictitious merchant account under Singh’s name, and sending the money to another account registered to the couple.
Oklahoma attorney Zeaman was involved in the case because of his prior relationship to Sara and her family. Batterham at one point produced a document alleging that Zeaman, an old family friend, had at one time represented Batterham between August and September 2008, after she was accused of stealing from Singh (Zeaman previously testified he’d only had a representation agreement with Colin).
Zeaman said the document Batterham had produced was a forgery.
Batterham’s attorney, Therese Hankel commented, “She’s a happy camper. I was also delighted. It was a tough one, but the judge did exactly the right thing. She served her time, more than is typically served due to the complications arising out of her convictions. She’s had some mental health problems, but is looking forward to being with her husband, her dog and being gainfully employed.”