The attorney for one of two women convicted of stealing money from Wauna Federal Credit Union (WFCU) told a Clatsop County Court Wednesday that his client might not need to pay back money from loans a co-worker approved.
Astoria attorney John Orr said when his client, Julie Marie Dunaway, 34, of Hammond, was sentenced to 60 days in jail and 36 months probation for theft and computer crimes in September 2007, there were no special conditions reached requiring repayment of loans. Orr did not represent Dunaway during her trial for the crimes.
Dunaway and Jennifer Lynn Stacey were employees of the credit union, where they qualified each other for loans, when they otherwise wouldn't have qualified, and changed due dates for loans to enable them to pocket the money when they otherwise would have been required to pay the loans back.
Orr argued that restitution had been paid in full.
"It seems the defendant is trying to say through her attorney 'I don't really owe that money,'" said Clatsop County District Attorney Josh Marquis.
Dunaway received three loans through Stacey totaling more than $46,000, and has only paid back $350.
WFCU had asked that Dunaway pay back more than $1,000 per month. It later reduced the payback amount to $450 a month for the duration of her 36-month probation. That would have been $16,200. After it became clear that Dunaway wasn't going to pay any of the money back, WFCU gave up and went to the authorities.
"In my personal opinion, I thought she was somewhat apathetic in trying to reconcile," said Christopher Hoover, Dunaway's probation officer. "They never came to an agreement. (WFCU) made several attempts, but she and her attorney never got back with them."
Orr argued that it's difficult for somebody convicted of a felony to find a full-time job. Dunaway also would have to pay for child care if she were working. He said Dunaway's income from selling cosmetics is not a "time-in, time-out proposition," so it doesn't qualify as a full-time job. The prospects of somebody who had been in a high-publicity case like Dunaway's finding a job in a deep recession are even lower.
"The credit union was willing to take $450 a month for the duration of probation and call it good?" asked Circuit Court Judge Philip Nelson. "People came to court negotiating in good faith. To come back and say 'Ha! We didn't have an agreement. I don't owe anything. I think there's a violation of probation."
Nelson said Dunaway knew well that she had an obligation to pay back the loans from the credit union and said, "I'm not paying."
He told Dunaway she should have taken the credit union up on its offer to accept $450 a month for the duration of her probation. He then extended her probation by two years and made paying back the loans a condition of her probation. If she doesn't make payments toward the loans, beginning with $450-a-month payments which will increase to $600 a month in April 2010, she will face four years in prison.
Nelson told Dunaway that she could at the very least find a minimum-wage job. He said there are good jobs available that are honorable jobs.
"The Legislature and voters in this state have said that restitution needs to be a high priority," Nelson said. "I'm not going to say do the best you can. I'm going to say just go do it."