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Winthrop man earns interim probation over use of counterfeit bills

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CANTON — A Winthrop man was sentenced to one year of interim probation by St. Lawrence County Judge Jerome J. Richards Tuesday morning for possessing two counterfeit $20 bills in the village of Massena last year.

Samuel B. Sevick, 26, pleaded guilty in January to one count of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, a felony.

According to court records, Mr. Sevick took the bogus notes to a gas station, where he used the first to buy $4 worth of gas, then kept the change.

He then moved his car and bought one can of beer with the second bill, again pocketing the change.

Judge Richards said Mr. Sevick successfully completed inpatient treatment and made full restitution.

If he successfully completes interim probation, he will be eligible to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge in place of the felony.

In other court action Tuesday:

Sentencing for Joanna L. Wright, 38, DeKalb Junction, in a grand larceny case was adjourned after Judge Richards chided Assistant District Attorney Jonathan L. Becker over a lack of information pertaining to restitution and the victims’ position.

Mrs. Wright admitted to stealing more than $50,000 from the Best Western University Inn while working as an account clerk from April 2008 to June 2010, and was sentenced to one year of interim probation in April 2012. She successfully completed interim probation, the judge said.

The judge grew angry when Mr. Becker struggled to answer whether the district attorney’s office had contacted the victims, St. Lawrence University and an insurance company.

Mr. Becker, who is leaving the district attorney’s office later this month, drew further ire by suggesting that Mrs. Wright be required to use insurance proceeds from the death of her husband to pay restitution. Judge Richards rejected that idea, and told Mr. Becker that how and whether to handle restitution is the court’s prerogative, which Mr. Becker challenged.

“I’ll adjourn this until after the 31st of May, and then we’ll have a different set of eyes, and a different brain, to deal with,” the judge said.

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