2017-04-20 / Community

Sebewaing woman jailed for writing multiple bad checks

By Cindy Centofanti
Staff writer • 989-269-9918 • ccentofanti@mihomepaper.com

BAD AXE — A Sebewaing woman claimed that her anxiety and depression led her to write a multitude of fraudulent checks to local businesses before condemned Monday to a 60-day jail sentence.

Crystal Lynn Austin, 36, of Sebewaing, was charged with three counts of non-sufficient funds. On Feb. 23, Austin admitted her guilt to her crimes.

Defense attorney Walter J. Salens said Austin is receiving mental health services outside Huron County.

“She has been faithfully going for all of her appointments,” he said.

Salens said the problems his client was being treated for stemmed from childhood trauma.

“It’s not an excuse for what she’s done,” he said.

Following Salens comments, Huron County Circuit Court Judge Gerald M. Prill asked if there was anything Austin wanted to say. At first, she said, “no,” but later offered her apologies.

“I know I made a mistake,” she began to say. “I had to restart my treatment, after a year or two, I lost my son.”

Huron County Prosecutor Timothy J. Rutkowski looked over Austin’s criminal history and reviewed it with the court. He noted her previous convictions, which included retail fraud and domestic violence.

“Merchants trust customers to provide a check that are of value,” Prill said to Rutkowski. “Issues like these cost everyone money.”

According to court records, Austin wrote $1,400 in fraudulent checks to local businesses.

“There are a number of checks,” Rutkowski replied.

Austin will serve her time on weekends beginning Friday, April 21. She received four days credit for time already served. She was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,421, plus fines and costs totaling $464.

She must serve 18 months probation, during which she may not have contact with her victims or hold financial accounts.

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