Joplin businesswoman Peggy Newton pleaded guilty to fraud, but from the objections her lawyer filed today to the presentencing report, it does not sound as if she thinks she did anything wrong.
Mrs. Newton indicates that both she and her former business partner Diane Pine became "extravagant" with money from Evergreen and Amber, and that she used the company credit card for other personal items, but she always intended to pay it back through the company's profits.
Of course, when the company went belly up, it put an end to that plan.
At the conclusion of the court document, the recommended sentencing guidelines of four to nine months is questioned since "defendant’s family ties and specifically her help to their special needs son should warrant a departure from the guidelines."
The objection to the presentence report is printed below:
DEFENDANT’S OBJECTION TO THE PRESENTENCE REPORT
Comes now before the Court the Defendant, Peggy S. Newton, with her Objection to the Preliminary Presentence Report prepared by the United States Probation Office on January 31, 2012.
a. Paragraph 8, Defendant denies that she was to maintain all financial records and states
that both Pine and she viewed the financial records together and that both parties were to run the day-to-day operations.
b. Paragraph 9, as stated in paragraph 9 both parties had signature authority over the credit accounts that the business proceeds that Evergreen & Amber generated were to pay. These credit accounts although used to help finance the business were also to be repaid by the business even though the loans were also used to finance Diane Pine’s automobile, and previous credit cards. The Business was to decorate houses and both parties agreed that their personal appearance was important in their business and both used these credit cards to pay for clothing and the like used in their business. This is expressly recognized by the government when the Defendant was able to prove that Counts I and II of the indictment were found to actually be charges made by ”victim” Diane Pine to Upstairs Boutique for her own clothing.
c. Paragraph 11, Defendant denies that there were 393 checks drawn for her personal use and further states that all payments made to spouse were for work rendered by him and that the one check used for the purpose of making a payment of his truck, this was done at the suggestion of “victim” for the repayment for the use of his truck in their business.
d. Paragraph 12, Defendant denies signing Pine’s name on checks without her knowledge or permission.
e. Paragraph 13, Defendant denies altering or falsifying carbon copies of any checks and further states that nearly all of the documents in this case were removed from the business and sent to Diane Pine’s son where he compiled and had complete control.
f. Paragraph 14, Defendant denies that she fraudulently used the accounts some 500 times and that on October 24, 2011 the defendant presented to the presentence officer an accounting of the actions she had done. Attached hereto are exhibits A & B setting forth said accounting.
g. Paragraph 15, Defendant denies opening any accounts without the authority of Diane Pine. The Advanta Bank Corp’s account was used by both parties to advance Evergreen & Amber funds to pay bills.
h. Paragraph 16, Defendant denies the number of unauthorized transactions alleged by the government and states that the accounting given to the presentence officer on October 24, 2011is the correct sum. The Defendant states that there were unauthorized transactions in the sum of $17,611.29 and that she had repaid $2,575.00 to Evergreen & Amber. Defendant states that there was an additional $24,855.29 in transactions that were clothing and accessories worn at the business and purchased by her.
i. Paragraph 17, Defendant states that the total amount of the loss sustained by Diane Pine is $17,611.29 as submitted to the presentence officer on October 24, 2011.
j. Paragraph 18, Defendant states that the total restitution due in this case is $17,611.29 as given to the probation office on October 24, 2011. We have attached Exhibits A & B which has our calculations as we had done previously. These two exhibits were prepared from the copy of the discovery given to us by the government. The supporting documents have been attached to the four volumes of discovery. These supporting documents were found in a box that was found in the attic of Evergreen & Amber. The documents supplied by the government were the documents in the sole possession of Diane Pine’s son who compiled them in a manner deemed by him to be appropriate. The defendant had no way to know if all the document’s had been supplied to the government and it was only the fortuitous finding of a box of documents left behind by the victim’s son that we are able to show document’s refuting the son’s findings.
k. Paragraph 19, as stated before our computation are attached hereto as Exhibits A & B, the supporting documents are numerous.
l. Paragraph 20, In response to the victim’s impact statement Defendant states that she is sorry for any harm that she has caused Ms. Pine and her family and that she too felt like Diane had become like family to her.
Peggy met Diane as Diane painted a mural on her son’s wall. A mutual friendship occurred and they started a business after an open house that was a success having utilized Peggy’s client list. The two of them looked for a place to open a store and Peggy’s in-laws remodeled a store for the sum of $185,000.00 and agreed to rent it to them for $750.00 a month.
The agreement was that they would use Diane’s credit cards because her in-laws had repaired the building and that Peggy had used her credit on the house that they had built.
The parties went to U.S. Bank but were denied the line of credit by letter and decided that Diane would finance the business through her line of credit secured by her house. The mortgage paid for her car, credit cards and that left around $150,000.00 for Evergreen & Amber.
Peggy admits that the two of them got extravagant when they went to market and that they both utilized credit cards to purchase items of clothing to enhance their appearance at the store.
Peggy also utilized the cards to purchase other items. It was her belief that she would pay back the business for these items with future income from the business and then the business failed and these charges were filed.
m. Paragraph 25, pursuant to 2B1.1(b)(1)(C) the loss is more than $2000 but less than $20,000. +4
n. Paragraph 26, Defendant denies using the victim’s Social Security Number to open credit accounts without the victim’s permission. +0
o. Paragraph 28, Defendant denies that she was in a position of trust as an overseer of the financial transactions. +0
p. Paragraph 35, should read Total Offense level:
q. Paragraph 58, should read :
Guide Line Provisions Total offense Level Criminal History Category Sentencing Range – 4-10 months
r. Pursuant to 5H 1.6 defendant’s family ties and specifically her help to their special needs son should warrant a departure from the guidelines.