Sept. 15, 2014 10:26 a.m. - Updated: 10:52 a.m.
The girlfriend of convicted Ponzi scheme artist Greg Jeffreys said she's fulfilling court-ordered restitution and denied victimizing anyone in a response filed in federal court over the weekend.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for Eastern Washington filed a motion last week after it came to light Shannon Stiltner, who spent seven months in federal prison after pleading guilty to misprision of a felony for her role in Jeffreys' scams, had received a cash gift of $2,700 from her mother that she used to buy Gonzaga men's basketball tickets for the upcoming season. U.S. Assistant Attorney Sean McLaughlin called the purchase “a slap in the face” to the two named victims in court documents owed a little more than $58,000 in restitution.
In rebuttal, Stiltner's attorney John B. McEntire IV called the motion, which would require all cash gifts received by Stiltner to be given to the debtors until they've been repaid in full, “awfully aggressive.”
“Before receiving the $2,700 cash gift from her mother for the Gonzaga tickets, Ms. Stiltner contacted her supervising probation officer to explain the situation and seek advice. Ms. Stiltner’s supervising probation officer “staffed” the issue with her supervisor, who ultimately concluded that so long as Ms. Stiltner contributed 10% of this one-time cash gift ($270) towards her restitution obligation, then she would be fully compliant with the Court’s restitution order. “
- John B. McEntire IV
Response to United States' motion
McEntire said that Stiltner paid $270 of her own money in order to receive the cash gift and pay for the Zags tickets.
In support of the motion, McEntire writes that Stiltner is making restitution payments to victims of Jeffreys' scams, not her own. When pleading guilty to charges, Stiltner admitted only that she knowingly kept herself from learning that Jeffreys was involved in fraud, not that she actively participated in his schemes.
“Nowhere did Ms. Stiltner ever admit knowing that Mr. Jeffreys was engaged in a scheme to defraud investors – because she did not,” McEntire wrote.
Stiltner also argues that the government's request is not feasible, because it would require cash gifts of any amount to be turned over to the two named victims.
“Or let’s say, as another example, that Ms. Stiltner forgets her wallet and her friend offers to buy her lunch,” McEntire wrote. “Under these circumstances, Ms. Stiltner could not accept the $8 or $11-dollar gift for lunch.”
U.S. District Judge Rosanna M. Peterson will decide whether Stiltner's restitution order should be changed. No oral argument has been scheduled, and Peterson could rule as early as this week.
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