Court of Appeals Judge Strikes Down Woman’s 4 Year Lottery Scam Sentence

Gavel,Law theme, mallet of judgeIt might be time for a Washington woman sentenced to four years in prison for an attempted lottery scam to try playing it for real. Katrina Bowen found out last week her luck had changed at least a little when a superior court declared her original sentence too harsh, according to the local news site

Bowen pleaded guilty in March of 2014 to stealing about 500 lottery tickets every shift she worked at the Flying K gas station in Toledo. It’s believed the scam went on for over nine months. Because the total value for the tickets she stole amounted to such a large number she admitted it was a “major economic offense.” The typical first-degree theft charge is for amounts over $5,000.

Superior Court Judge Richard Brosey decided that the scope of the fraud attempt was such that it warranted a stern penalty. He sentenced her to four years in prison, even though the Lewis County prosecutor’s office had only been asking for two years. On the other hand, Bowen could have been one of the 48% of people who continue working even after winning the lottery.

Bowen appealed the decision to the Washington State Court of Appeals, which decided the punishment did not fit the crime in this situation.

“Bowen’s 48-month sentence was grossly disproportionate to the standard range sentence of zero to three months,” Appeals Court Judge Thomas J. Bjorgen wrote in an opinion filed late last month.

A new sentencing hearing still needs to be scheduled where Bowen’s ultimate fate will be decided. The process alone can take up to 60 days, according to court officials.

Many see the overturning as an acceptable balance of power and constraint on unfair sentences, but others would argue against committing the crime in the first place.

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