WICHITA — A former Wichita municipal court collections officer will serve five years' probation for altering computerized records so bondsmen could avoid paying forfeitures, a federal judge ruled today.
But U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten told Kaylene J. "Katie" Pottorff that he considered probation worse than prison in her case.
"Probation is not a carrot — it is a big stick," Marten told Pottorff.
Marten explained that if she didn't comply with strict conditions of the U.S. Probation office, she risked going to prison for five years.
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"If at any point she violates the conditions of her probation, she can be back in here facing the same sentence, even if it's 4 years, 11 months into her probation," Marten said. "Here, you're facing up to 10 years if you violate your probation. I think that's some incentive right there."
Marten ordered Pottorff to pay the city $469,525 in restitution. As a condition of her probation, she must make payments on that of at least 5 percent of her household income. She will continue to owe the balance after she completes probation, Marten said.
Pottorff pleaded guilty in federal court in August to altering computerized court records. She was one of three people indicted in May 2009 by a federal grand jury in connection with conspiracy, altering criminal justice records and receiving bribes.
Alicia Bell was sentenced in October to five years' probation and ordered to pay $185,125 in restitution
Jessie Garland is set for sentencing at 9 a.m. Friday before Marten.