A restitution hearing was held this (Wednesday) afternoon at the courthouse in Atlantic, in the case of an Atlantic woman who falsely claimed her 5-year old daughter had cancer and then raised money for her treatment. Fourth District Court Judge Greg Steensland presided over the hearing for 30-year old Leatha Kaye Slauson. Slauson herself was unable to make it to the proceedings due to the weather, but she was represented by her lawyer, Jay Mez.
During the nearly 50-minute hearing, a half-dozen persons testified, and provided evidence to the judge of how much they had contributed to Slauson, or the “Super Riley” fund set up for her daughter. Most presented photocopies of checks, but one woman presented credit card statements. The amounts claimed ranged from $200 to over $3,000. In all, about $10,000 in claims were presented by private individuals or persons representing organizations, such as the 1st United Methodist Men’s group in Atlantic, and Beta Sigma Phi.
Judge Steensland, Mez and Cass County Attorney David Wiederstein agreed to accept the claims. Now it’s up to the judge to determine how much each person or organization will receive. The total amount victim restitution is in the amount of $35,964. Three-thousand dollars has been returned in the form of an R-V that was used, leaving a balance of $32,964. The amount of funds available to distribute are $15,920.
The Judge said since the amount of claims exceed the available funds, it puts him in a “Bit of a predicament.” He said “We’ve already had a situation where we’re trying to figure out what to do with money that shouldn’t have been given out in the first place. As a judge, I cannot exacerbate that by giving out funds that I can’t track.” He said he would reimburse those funds that he thinks are provable, in the form of a court order as soon as possible, barring an unforeseen circumstances.)
In January, the 30-year-old Slauson was sentenced to 5 years probation and was ordered to continue mental health treatment and not contact her five children unless requested by her therapist. In November, she plead guilty to two counts of child endangerment, one of administering harmful substances, one of theft and one of unlawful possession of a prescription drug.