The two remaining members of a Kelso fraud ring that police said scammed thousands from Longview businesses in 2017 were sentenced Jan. 4 to a year on probation.
Michael Franklin Chester, 35, and Virginia Kay Boggs, 26, were also sentenced to 364 days in jail suspended as long as they follows their terms of probation.
They pleaded guilty in October to a total of 28 charges each, including forgery, second-degree theft, first-degree trafficking in stolen property, and third degree theft, as well as one count of possession of methamphetamine.
A January risk assessment report found Chester and Boggs engaged in the scheme to raise money for a drug habit. They reportedly regretted the scheme, which involved fraudulent credit card purchases, and said they had paid the victims back the approximately $10,000 stolen in full, which the investigator confirmed was true.
The investigator found that Chester and Boggs seemed to “have turned a corner in their lives, largely because they understand the impact their behavior has had/will have on their children,” and had earned a reduced sentence under the Family and Offender Sentencing Alternative (FOSA), which gives convicted felons with children an opportunity to take care of their family if they can demonstrate doing so would be a net benefit to their children.
The fraud group’s scheme, according to court documents, involved generating bank card numbers and printing them onto blank credit cards. They would then use those cards to buy and resell items from Longview businesses.
An Aug. 16 Longview police search of a home shared by the suspects found forged credit cards and materials and tools to create more fraudulent credit cards. It also found large amounts of methamphetamine.
Four members of the group were ultimately accused of making purchases at businesses using the fraudulent credit cards, including Woods Logging Supply, North Coast Electric, Cowlitz River Rigging, Longview Pawnbrokers, DCP Hobbies and Audio Express, according to court documents. Charges against an alleged fifth member were never filed.
The other two members, Stanley Canterbury, 62, and Holly Boggs, 54, were found guilty by jury trial in March on 22 counts, including forgery and second-degree theft charges. They were sentenced to two years in prison and to pay about $9,100 in restitution.