WICHITA -- After hearing the sobbing apology of a former bounty hunter, a federal judge reduced her prison sentence for aiding in a scam that cost Wichita Municipal Court more than $400,000.
Jessie Garland, 43, will be the only one of three defendants to serve prison time in the case, under the sentence imposed this morning by U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten. Two other women had received five years probation for their role in doctoring computer records from the city's court.
Marten had originally announced his intention to sentence Garland to 2 1/2 years in federal prison. But after Garland's tearful apology, Marten shortened the sentence to a year and a day.
"You have touched me this morning," Marten said.
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With good-time credit, Garland could be out in little more than 10 months. She will then be under supervision by the U.S. Probation Office for three years. Marten allowed Garland to surrender to federal prison authorities on Jan. 2, so she could remain free on bond for the holidays.
The judge also ordered Garland to pay $163,000 in restitution to the city.
Garland worked as a bondsman and bounty hunter, along with Alicia Bell, 37. They pleaded guilty to working with Kaylene "Katie" Pottorff, a municipal court collections clerk, to illegally alter computer records. The scheme allowed Garland and Bell to avoid paying bond forfeitures on defendants who skipped out on their bail.
Pottorff pleaded guilty and was sentenced on Thursday.