14 Oct Woman Gets Lucky Ruling by Appeals Court in Washington Lottery Scam Case
Presumably, Katrina Bowen was down on her luck and really needed the lottery payments when she began stealing tickets from the Flying K gas station she worked at in Washington over two years ago. Why else would she resort to such drastic measures as taking about 500 tickets every shift she worked? As it turns out Bowen has finally found a shred of good luck worth mentioning. According to the local news source Columbian.com, a superior court ruled that the four year prison sentence originally handed down to her was to harsh.
Bowen pleaded guilty in March of 2014 to the rudimentary, yet extensive scam before she even got to choose between a lump sum versus annuity settlement. Not even the government got its 25% share of winnings as she never actually cashed a ticket. It’s believed it had been going on for over nine months before she was finally caught. She admitted to Superior Court Judge Richard Brosey that what she had done constituted a “major economic offense” because it went well above and beyond a typical first-degree theft charge for amounts over $5,000.
Brosey decided that due to the scope of the lottery payments fraud attempt it warranted a stern penalty. Even though the Lewis County prosecutor’s office was only asking for two years, he sentenced her to four behind bars. Part of his decision could have been influenced by the fact that there’s no telling if Bowen would have been one of the 48% of people who continue working at their jobs after winning the lottery and kept the scam going indefinitely.
Bowen appealed the decision to the Washington State Court of Appeals who decided the crime did not fit the punishment 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.
There will be a new sentencing hearing where Bowen will ultimately learn her fate. That still needs to be scheduled though and the process alone can take up to 60 days, according to court officials.
Employee lawsuits have risen by about 400% over the last 20 years, but this is one case where the employer was wronged. It’s estimated the gas station lost around $175,000 in total over the course of the scam, which ironically would have made a nice amount to have in a lottery annuity.