Bogus check restitution program receives recognition
District Attorney Emily Redman's bogus check restitution program was recognized last week at a statewide meeting for its accomplishments during fiscal year 2007-2008. The meeting is an annual event sponsored by the Bogus Check Section of the Oklahoma District Attorneys Association. District 19 Investigator David Cathey and Bogus Check Coordinator Carrie Costiloe attended the meeting, held at the Double Tree Hotel in Tulsa, along with approximately one hundred other District Attorney employees from across the state.
District 19 received recognition from the District Attorneys Association for having the largest increase in collections by any district in the state during the last fiscal year. Collections by the District 19 Bogus Check Division increased by 111 percent over the previous fiscal year.
Cathey and Costiloe accepted a certificate and an oversized check representative of the $405,546.36 in restitution returned to victims of hot check writers in District 19. Cathey said, "It was a very pleasant surprise to be recognized by our peers at this meeting."
Cathey credited the hard work of the bogus check division staff, Beverly Jackson, Costiloe, and Sharon Janke with the lion's share of hard work that went into the achievement. "These three ladies are in the trenches on our job every day. They field a lot of phone calls, they generate a lot of mail in attempts to contact check writers. They generate the paperwork for the attorneys to file charges, they are back and forth between our office and the court house, filing papers, and testifying in court. The staff deals with many people on a daily basis who are in a wide variety of difficult circumstances, in some cases, persons wanted for other types of crimes besides hot checks. I'm really proud of the work the staff does here."
Cathey also attributed last year's success to Redman. "Mrs. Redman took some risks in putting this program as a priority. She hired additional staff, invested in a software program and gave the bogus check department the latitude to go after hot check writers more aggressively than this office ever has before. I'm also proud of my boss. Mrs. Redman recognizes that bad checks are a real burden for the businesses in our district. She's given this department a mandate to work these cases zealously on behalf of the victims who suffer loss from hot check writers."
Redman echoes Cathey's assessment of the work of Jackson, Costiloe and Janke. "Together these ladies have over 30 years of service to the Office of the District Attorney. They work tirelessly to ensure that victims of check fraud receive the restitution they deserve. These efforts, along with their vast experience, have been a major contributing factor toward the success of our bogus check collection program," said Redman.
In addition to the dedication of those three ladies, Redman attributes a large part of the success of the program to her decision to bring Cathey on board last year as bogus check investigator. Cathey had retired as an investigator for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and was hoping to return to the Durant area to be near his family. Redman stated, "This office had not had the luxury of an experienced law enforcement officer working these cases in many years. When I learned that Mr. Cathey was interested in moving back to this area, I jumped at the chance to have him join our staff. Adding David to our program has been essential to its success. Now offenders know if they make promises to pay money they owe, they'd better keep those promises. If commitments are not honored, warrants are issued and David will find that person, arrest them and take them to jail. Bogus check writers are beginning to understand that and are starting to honor those commitments."
The goals of the bogus check restitution program are to collect restitution for victims of crime and divert offenders from the justice system. The program was created by the state legislature in 1982. Each District Attorney in the state is required by law to operate a bogus check restitution program. The 19th District is comprised of Bryan, Atoka and Coal Counties.