A Libby woman was given a five-year suspended sentence in Montana 19th Judicial District Court June 17, in Libby, for charges related to paying Lincoln County businesses with bad checks.
Judge Matt Cuffe sentenced April Leann Ewing for the charge of common scheme, issuing a bad check exceeding $1,500, a felony, and to pay restitution of $5,450.94. Ewing pleaded guilty on May 13 and a part of her plea agreement involved a motion to release her from the county jail.
After the court allowed Ewing to be released on her own recognisance, Ewing violated her parole by allegedly using methamphetamine, which she admitted to, and continuing to write checks. The parole conditions Ewing violated included the requirement to conduct herself in a lawful manner and to not use checks from any checking account.
Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Detective Dave Hall reported that, on Jan. 1, he received several non-sufficient funds checks that Lincoln County businesses turned into the Lincoln County Attorney’s Office, all of which belonged to Ewing, according to the affidavit.
Ewing wrote a $587.14 check to Libby Sports Center and then tried to have a “friend,” Tiffany Gorum, come back into the store to return purchased items for cash, according to the report.
Libby Sports Center provided security camera footage of Ewing writing her check, according to the report. After the incident, Libby Sports Center employee Gary Halverson approached both Ewing and Gorum, asking Ewing to return the items she had purchased.
Ewing also wrote checks, which have been returned, to Cedars Restaurant & Spirit Lounge three separate times, totaling $416, while gambling at the restaurant, according to the report. Other returned checks include one for $237.87 at Homesteader’s Farm & Feed store, a $250.36 check at Kootenai Drug True Value and a couple other checks at the Aitkens Quik Stop.
After interviewing the owner of Cedars, Nelli Brooks, Hall wrote that the checks Ewing cashed in Cedars were to get cash for gambling. Ewing wrote bad checks from around Dec. 12, 2018, to Jan. 15, 2019.