A Lake Havasu City woman expressed bewilderment at her Wednesday sentencing hearing in Kingman. Donna Richter, 58, told the Court that she felt more like a victim than a defendant.
The retired registered nurse previously pleaded guilty to taking the identity of another in a deal dismissing six forgery counts and two theft charges. Her attorney Adam Cirzan explained Richter agreed to house sit and pay bills for a Lake Havasu man who had to do jail time in an assault case.
Cirzan said Richter did as she was instructed, though she engaged in some excessive spending. "She admits she went a little bit beyond the scope of what was authorized,” Cirzan said.
Lake Havasu police alleged the victim, after he got out of jail, showed investigators 89 fraudulent charges made to his account for purchases at stores, restaurants and bars. Richter also allegedly used some of the man’s funds for house and pet sitting services, property association dues and taxes.
"I was just house sitting for the man,” Richter told Mohave County Superior Court Judge Derek Carlisle. She said she regretted ever meeting him and said she’ll be super careful about whom she associates with in the future.
Prosecutor Bob Moon noted Richter’s extensive criminal involvements and her history of blaming others for her personal misdeeds and mistakes. "She’s going to defy authority. It’s what she does,” Moon said.
The punishment considerations in this case were complicated by Richter’s previous conviction and sentence in a drunk driving case. Judge Carlisle noted that Richter will soon begin serving a four month prison term for the DUI conviction.
Judge Carlisle ordered four months jail time and probation for the identity fraud conviction. He credited her with four months already served in jail.
The net result of the two sentencing proceedings is that Richter has already served her four months jail time. She must serve four months prison time, followed by four years of probation.