Woman gets jail for forging checks from elderly woman

Meek

ESCANABA — An Escanaba woman was sentenced to 10 months in jail this week for forging checks belonging to an elderly woman who, along with her brother, lost more than a half million dollars due to forgery and embezzlement crimes committed by five people.

Kayla Ann Meek, 28, a second-offense habitual offender, pleaded guilty to two counts of forging a financial transaction device, each a four-year felony, in Delta County Circuit Court in April.

After apologizing for her actions on Monday, Meek was sentenced to two concurrent 10-month jail terms and was also ordered to pay $1,096 in fines and costs. She was given credit for serving 37 days in jail.

She was placed on probation for 18 months, during which time she can have no alcohol and may not enter bars. She must not have any illegal drugs and must undergo random drug and alcohol testing. She must be in her residence from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.

In exchange for Meek pleading guilty to forging two checks from the victim’s account, the court dismissed four counts of uttering and publishing — each a four-year felony — for four forged checks amounting to $1,710. The guilty pleas also canceled a jury trial that was scheduled for Meek in August.

Meek was ordered to pay joint restitution of $1,710 along with co-defendant Bradi Lynn Kohnert, 26, of Gladstone, who was sentenced in March to eight months in jail on two counts of forging a financial transaction device.

Kohnert told the court she forged the victim’s signature on checks written out to Meek who cashed the checks for money, which the two women split between themselves in October 2015.

Meek was ordered to have no contact with Kohnert or the victim.

In addition to the above forged checks, the victim and her brother — both nursing home residents — lost $493,9000 to three Gladstone residents who were convicted last year of embezzling the money during 2013-2015 and were ordered to pay back the victims.

William Joseph Kohnert, 65, was sentenced to 40 months to up to 20 years in prison and was ordered to sign over his home to the victims. Melanie Jean Frappier, 51, was sentenced to 10 months in jail. Tracy James Kohnert, 43, was sentenced to seven months in jail.

The Michigan State Police Post in Gladstone investigated the above five cases.

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Jenny Lancour, (906) 786-2021, ext. 143, jlancour@dailypress.net

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